STATEMENT: On Raising the Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania

John Neurohr |

HARRISBURG—Stephen Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center, made the following statement following Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement of his continued commitment to raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania:

“In a press conference this morning Governor Wolf reaffirmed his commitment to raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania for the first time in almost 14 years. His proposal for higher minimum wage—to $12 per hour on July 1, 2020, and then 50 cent annual increments to $15 per hour by 2026—would benefit over 1.8 million Pennsylvania workers by 2026. The people who benefit would be overwhelmingly (88%) adults 20 and over. (New charts on impact of this new proposal are available here.)

A fall 2019 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that raising the minimum wage actually increased employment. The total annual wage increase injected into the Pennsylvania economy by the governor’s proposal would start at $3.5 billion per year (in 2018 dollars) and rise to $6.1 billion by 2026. Those are real dollars that will injected right back into local economies. It’s time for legislative leaders to recognize that many of their hard-working constituents are having trouble making ends meet, and raising the minimum wage would go a long way to helping families solve that problem. (Two charts from the NY Federal Reserve Bank study are available at the end of this post.)”

OVERTIME THRESHOLD

“On raising the overtime threshold, Governor Wolf is taking a major step towards improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of overworked and underpaid Pennsylvanians by lifting to $45,500 the annual pay level below which salaried workers will automatically receive overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours. Salaried employees with sometimes-inflated titles and always-deflated pay packets—in department stores and fast food, branch banking and health care providers, construction, manufacturing, and other sectors—would get back the 40-hour work week and time with their family, or the extra pay they have until now been cheated of every week. Nearly 400,000 Pennsylvania salaried employees (394,000) will benefit from the updated overtime threshold compared to the existing federal rule ($23,600 annually). About 200,000 more workers will benefit compared to when the new federal rule issued in September by the U.S. Department of Labor ($35,568) goes into effect.”

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