Unlike its neighbors, Pennsylvania minimum wage remains at the federal level.
Lawmakers in recent years have pushed for a new minimum wage rate in the state, but none of the legislation has gained any traction.
Still, with new legislation introduced once again this year, it is worth examining the state of Pennsylvania minimum wage today.
Minimum Wage Management. Simplified.
What is the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage?
For a baseline to start, Pennsylvania adheres to the standard federal rate, $7.25, which hasn’t changed since 2009.
It is worth noting that the state does have a tipped minimum wage ($2.38) slightly above the federal rate ($2.13), due to an old law.
Also, Pennsylvania in 2022 made some wage and hour updates related to:
- Definition of “tipped employee”
- Tip credits
- Tip pooling
- Credit card payments
- Automatic service charges
- Overtime regulations
Yet the state is on an island when it comes to minimum wage. The states abutting Pennsylvania have long since passed their own minimum wage laws. For reference, they include:
- New York
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
As noted earlier, there have been previous pushes for a new minimum rate in Pennsylvania.
In 2021, then-Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a plan that would have implemented scheduled increases until Pennsylvania reached a $15 minimum wage. He renewed that effort for a $15 rate again in 2022.
“The fact that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage hasn’t increased in 15 years is an embarrassment,” Wolf said at the time. “It’s an insult to hardworking Pennsylvanians, and it means businesses and communities in Pennsylvania are getting left behind. Hardworking people can’t wait any longer. I call on Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly to step up and take action on behalf of workers, businesses, and our economy.”
Despite the lack of success of previous efforts to raise the Pennsylvania minimum wage, new legislation was proposed during the summer of 2023. While the new governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, appears to generally support a new rate, and the House passed a version of the bill this summer, it was not adopted.
Those bills, too, would have eventually raised the Pennsylvania minimum wage to $15 an hour.
However, the continued activity for a new state rate bears monitoring for employers with locations in Pennsylvania.
How Many States Have a $15 Minimum Wage?
Managing Minimum Wage Rates
The situation in Pennsylvania highlights the ongoing challenges for large employers when it comes to managing minimum wage rates.
With no activity at the federal level, smaller levels of government are stepping in to create new laws. It extends beyond minimum wage, as well, with paid leave (and the continual amendments to existing laws), adding to the compliance concerns for employers. And all these laws add up to additional labor law poster requirements.
In fact, the number of local labor law poster requirements swelled from 115 mandatory updates in 2017 to 188 in 2022.
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At the same time, the variety of minimum wage laws also continues to grow. Just recently, there’s a new California $20 minimum wage for fast food workers. (California also has cities with specific rates for hotel workers.) And there are several jurisdictions with different rates based on employer size or annual revenue.
Plus, the Fight for $15 has evolved into the Fight for $20 as a new minimum wage push, and indexing has become increasingly common since many jurisdictions’ scheduled minimum wage bumps have moved to going up based on the applicable Consumer Price Index.
All this adds up to major hurdles for employers trying to manage minimum wage.
Minimum Wage Compliance Resources
The continued legislative activity regarding the Pennsylvania minimum wage is an interesting matter for employment law compliance.
For years now, lawmakers have been pushing for a new rate in the state. And with so many of Pennsylvania’s neighbors having already passed minimum wage laws, it could simply be a matter of time before the state has a new rate.