Today, as part of his “Jobs That Pay” initiative, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order that ensures employees under the governor’s jurisdiction will be paid no less than $10.15 an hour. The executive order also covers employees of organizations that negotiate state contracts or that lease property to the commonwealth. Those employees that perform direct services to the commonwealth or spend at least 20 percent of their working time on ancillary services related to the contract or lease will be paid a minimum of $10.15 an hour. This provision will take effect when contracts or leases are solicited or bilaterally modified on or after July 1, 2016.
- The inflation-adjusted hourly earnings of the bottom fifth of Pennsylvania workers are lower today than they were in 1979
- The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has 18 percent less purchasing power than the minimum wage had in 1979
- A full-time, year-round worker earning the current minimum wage earns less than the federal poverty threshold for a family of two
- The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has projected that a higher statewide minimum wage would generate at least $60 million in new revenue through the personal income tax and sales tax
- Increasing the minimum wage would impact over half a million children.
- For a single mother with two children who works 40 hours per week, an increase in the minimum wage would lift her family above the poverty line for a household of three.
Raise the Minimum Wage
An increase in the minimum wage will lead to increases in employee morale, productivity, and quality of work and decreases in turnover and the cost of training and supervision.
Additionally, Gov. Wolf’s 2016-17 Budget proposes to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.15 per hour, while tying it to inflation to maintain its purchasing power over time.
The increase would benefit more than 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers, many of whom are adults with families. Studies have consistently shown that an increase in the minimum wage does not result in job loss for low-wage workers.
A minimum wage increase to $10.15 per hour supports local businesses, creates new jobs, and would boost state revenue by roughly $60 million annually.
Pennsylvanians who work full time at the minimum wage earn $15,080 annually, leaving them below the poverty level for a family of four and unable to afford basic necessities.
The current minimum wage of $7.25 purchases about one-quarter less than the minimum wage did in 1968, although low-wage workers now are better educated and more skilled. Employees have become more productive, increasing business efficiency and competitiveness, but wages have not kept pace with these productivity gains.
News from Senate Democrats