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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=24716
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 13, 2017 10:27 AM
From: Representative Emilio A. Vazquez
To: All House members
Subject: Workers’ Protection Bill Package
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce a package of three bills providing increased protection and assistance for the workers of Pennsylvania, as well as increasing penalties for violating certain labor laws. My proposals help to sustain a healthy workforce, in turn creating a positive effect on the state’s economy.

Today’s worker faces a myriad of challenges, which may include the exploitation and mistreatment at the hands of their employer. We can streamline the process for assistance when workers experience such unfortunate issues. Consequently, employers who break laws intended to protect workers should be held accountable for their misdeeds.

That said, the first two pieces of my legislation will amend current statute to increase criminal penalties for employers found in violation of The Minimum Wage Act and the Wage Payment and Collection Law. A third measure will create the Office of Workers’ Ombudsman within the Department of Labor and Industry to assist workers with viable complaints against their employer.

Giving working Pennsylvanians access to assistance and guidance when facing troublesome employment matters and holding bad actors accountable is paramount. I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.



Document #1

Description: The current criminal penalty for violation under Section 12(b) of the Minimum Wage Act of not less than $75 nor more than $300 will be raised to not less than $1000 nor less than $3000. Likewise, the current penalty in Section 12(c) of not less than $100 nor more than $500 will be raised to not less than $1000 nor more than $5000.
 
 
 

Document #2

Description: Currently, the criminal penalty in the Wage Payment and Collection Law, Section 11.1 ascribes a fine of not more than $300. My legislation will raise this fine to not less than $3000 per offense.
 

Document #3

Description: An Office of Workers’ Ombudsman will be created within the Department of Labor and Industry. This office will act as the primary source of guidance for employees with workplace related issues. Under this bill, employers would be required to share contact information about this office on a quarterly basis.Further, the Worker’s Ombudsman will investigate employee complaints and provide assistance and instruction, pointing the worker to the proper state agency for further help, if needed.