The Minimum Wage In Pennsylvania

Welcome to our Minimum Wage Issue Page. To the right you will find a set of links to short primers we have written for each county, state house and state senate district as well as for each of Pennsylvania's congressional districts on the affects of a minimum wage increase. These primers give you the key facts in 4 pages, how many workers are affected by various proposals to raise the minimum wage, what are their characteristics (age, income, etc.) and and we discuss briefly why a minimum wage increase is warranted. We also review frequently asked questions about minimum wage increases. Download these fact sheets, send them to your friends and family and share them with your local elected officials. 

The rest of material below and following the factsheet provides additional information that we couldn't squeeze into 4 pages. 

 

When a significant number of jobs in Pennsylvania don't pay enough for our neighbors to afford the basics – things like food, car repairs and eyeglasses – it hurts the local economy. For many people in our communities, wages are so low that they don’t even cover rent and the cost of getting around, forcing working people to rely on the local food bank to help make ends meet. Raising the wage floor can help restore spending on the basics and, in the process, boost the local economy.

Today, in the Pennsylvania Legislature, there is a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. An increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour would boost the wages of 2.2 million workers, or 37%, of the state's resident workforce. In total, wages in Pennsylvania would increase by $9.1 billion.

The majority of workers who would get a raise as a result of a statewide minimum wage increase are adults (89.7%) working full-time (58.5%). The workers that would benefit from a minimum wage increase earn a significant share of their family's income.

There are other proposals to raise the minimum wage, which benefit fewer workers by covering fewer of the basics. While these are just proposals, ALL of our neighboring states from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey to New York have already raised the minimum wage and those not already on a path to $15 have active campaigns to get there. 

Job growth has been stronger in those states than in Pennsylvania, both overall and in industries like food services that are more likely to be affected by a minimum wage increase. Meanwhile wage growth for the workers most likely to benefit from an increase in the minimum has been slower in Pennsylvania than in our neighboring states since they raised their minimum wage.  The majority of working people support a minimum wage increase. Yet it has been more than a decade since the legislature took action to raise the wage.  Increasing the minimum wage is long overdue, and raising it to $15 per hour would result in a meaningful boost in family incomes and help create growth in Pennsylvania that is more broadly shared.

When discussing the minimum wage with your neighbors, it’s important to talk about the following issues:

WE NEED ONE FAIR WAGE

     In Pennsylvania, employers of workers that customarily receive tips are only required to pay their tipped workers a base wage of $2.83 per hour, provided their workers' weekly income from tips plus their base pay at $2.83 brings their hourly rate to $7.25. Sounds a little complicated, doesn’t it? Well it’s a recipe for wage theft by employers, and it also makes workers poorer. Tipped workers in states like Pennsylvania face higher rates of poverty and a greater reliance on public assistance than workers in states with one fair wage.

WE NEED LOCAL CONTROL

     The cost of living varies from community to community in Pennsylvania, so it is important when establishing a statewide minimum wage to give local communities the option to establish a higher local minimum wage to better reflect a higher local cost of living.  The law in Pennsylvania currently prevents local communities from setting a higher minimum wage more reflective of things like higher local housing costs.

WE NEED TO STOP WAGE THEFT

     One in 10 minimum-wage-eligible workers in Pennsylvania has been the victim of wage theft by their employer. Pennsylvania needs more cops on the beat and larger penalties for employers who willfully violate the law by not paying workers what they are owed.

WE NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR CHANGES IN THE COST OF LIVING

     Eighteen states, including New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and the District of Columbia, adjust the minimum wage annually to reflect changes in the cost of living.  Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour, making a small annual adjustment, typically adding about 23 cents depending on rate of inflation, to the minimum wage would stop politicians from using your family budget as a bargaining chip in the political games that dominate decision making in the General Assembly.   

Frequently Asked Questions About A Minimum Wage Increase In Pennsylvania

How many workers in your community would be affected by a minimum wage increase?

Estimated Affects of an Increase in the Pennsylvania State Minimum Wage

Estimated Affects of an Increase in the Federal Minimum Wage Under The Raise The Wage Act of 2017

  • Workers Affected by Congressional District (google drive / dropbox)
Our Research On The Minimum Wage
Learn More About Business Owners That Support Raising Wages
Get Involved! Join The Raise The Wage PA Coalition
Other Minimum Wage Research
Public Opinion About The Minimum Wage

April 2018, Targetsmart Poll

56% of respondents supported increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour while simultaneously eliminating the state’s tipped minimum wage of $2.83.  Support rose to 62% for raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour while also eliminating the tipped minimum wage.  Among moderate/liberal Republicans there was 55% support for a $12 minimum wage. Support among moderate/liberal Republicans fell to 35% for a $15 minimum wage.   Conservative Republicans were the least likely to support raising the minimum wage to $12 (33% support) and $15 (22% support).   

February 2017, Franklin & Marshall College Poll

Three in five (61%) registered voters favor a proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $12 per hour. Among Democrats support for an increase to $12 was 83%, among independents 61% and among Republicans 33%.

 
 
Recent Editorials/Op-Eds