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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2014 03:13 PM
From: Senator Christine M. Tartaglione
To: All Senate members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship of Legislation: Raising the Minimum Wage and Modernizing the Minimum Wage Act
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation, which would address various issues concerning Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act. Specifically, my legislation would incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage rate to $10.10 per hour by 2016, after which it would be adjusted automatically with inflation each year. Further, it would allow municipalities to set higher minimum wage rates, if desired. Finally, it would strengthen employer requirements and penalties to ensure they are keeping accurate payroll records and paying the correct wages to employees.

Not only is Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage rate outdated at $7.25 per hour, but also, the state’s Minimum Wage Act has become archaic and ineffective, allowing employers to act unlawfully with regard to workplace wage practices, while assuming little or no consequence. At a time when employees around the state and nation are becoming increasingly courageous in demanding their rights in the workplace, it is our responsibility to support these individuals to the greatest extent possible by setting a reasonable standard for wage rates and ensuring employers are held fully accountable for their actions.

Presently, no issue is more relevant than that of the minimum wage. Although hardly a new issue, efforts in support and opposition of raising the minimum wage have made news headlines and dominated our media at a growing pace during the past year; however, it is important to view the entire scope of this issue, which extends far beyond the minimum wage rate. By allowing individual municipalities to raise their minimum wage rates in alignment with their own local economies, workers living in those areas will be able to afford local housing and necessary expenses, such as daily commuting costs. By addressing employer wage requirements, improving enforcement efforts and enhancing penalties on employers who fail to uphold the law, we can ensure employees, especially those being paid at the tipped wage rate, are being paid the wages they have earned and are owed by their employer. This will lead to greater wage equality and fairness among male and female minimum wage and tipped wage workers. By supporting an increase in the minimum wage, Pennsylvania’s lowest-paid workers will have improved success at supporting themselves and their family members without falling below the poverty line.

On behalf of workers everywhere, I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB195