Tartaglione introduces landmark $20-an-hour living wage legislation

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – May 24, 2024 −Today, Democratic Senatorial Whip Christine M. Tartaglione announced groundbreaking minimum wage reform legislation to provide all Pennsylvanians with a “living wage” of $20 an hour.

The Pennsylvania minimum wage has remained unchanged by the Pennsylvania Legislature since July 6, 2009, when former Governor Ed Rendell signed Senate Bill 1090, Senator Tartaglione’s bill raising the PA minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is currently $7.25, the national minimum wage.

“When Senate Bill 1090 was signed into law, it was a promise to continue the fight for the lowest earners in our Commonwealth and to ensure that the needs of those earning the Pennsylvania minimum wage are not forgotten or dismissed,” said Senator Tartaglione. “After 6,506 days of systemic passivity of our legislature, it has become clear that we need decisive and bold legislative action. That’s why I’m fighting to raise our minimum wage to a “living wage.”

Senate Bill 1186 would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to a living wage of $20 an hour on July 1, 2024, and provide cost-of-living-adjusted increases every five years thereafter, tying the wage to the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U).

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the minimum wage in Pennsylvania is a fraction of what is considered an acceptable wage in the state. The cost of housing and other living expenses continues to rise, while Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained unchanged for over a decade.

Senate Bill 1186 also modernizes Pennsylvania’s minimum wage law by:

  • Allowing municipalities to set a local minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage;
  • Setting the tipped wage at 70% of the minimum wage;
  • Protecting against wage theft by providing the Department of Labor and Industry with the ability to recover wages and penalties for any violations of the Act, not just when a complaint is filed;
  • Increasing fines for violations, which in some cases have not been updated since 1968;
  • Aligning enforcement with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing workers to receive compensation in addition to unpaid wages; AND
  • A legal provision stating that severance pay is the sole property of the employee.

Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage of $7.25 is only one cent higher than the poverty level guideline of $7.24 set by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services.

The co-sponsorship memorandum AND text of the act can be found on the Internet.


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