Proposed Legislation Looks to Increase Pennsylvania Minimum Wage
On January 8, 2014, Pennsylvania Representative Mark B. Cohen referred two bills (HB 1941 and HB 1942) to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Labor and Industry Committee. The bills seek to amend the act of January 17, 1968 (P.L.11, No.5), known as The Minimum Wage Act of 1968.
HB 1941 seeks to repeal the ban on local governments setting their own minimum wage standards. Through this proposed legislation, Pennsylvania cities, counties, boroughs and townships would have the ability to set minimum wage standards. This proposal mirrors a trend of local governments outside Pennsylvania who have issued their own requirements. This includes, for example, Washington D.C., counties in Maryland, and cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Albuquerque.
HB 1942 seeks to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour. The proposed bill contains a scheduled increase of the minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour. The state minimum wage mirrors the federal minimum wage. Under that schedule, the minimum wage would increase to $9.00 per hour, 60 days after enactment of the legislation. Minimum wage would then increase to $10.10 per hour, one year and 60 days after the legislation is enacted and to $11.50 per hour, two years and 60 days after the legislation is enacted. All increases thereafter would be based upon the cost of living increase and would be effective on January 1 of each year. This proposed legislation follows the trend set by thirteen states who increased their minimum wage effective January 1, 2014. These states include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Currently, twenty-one states have set their minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage.
Business attorney, Loren Speziale, represents businesses large and small in employment law matters as well as general business issues.