Philadelphia, PA − May 24, 2024 − Today, Senate Democratic Whip Christine M. Tartaglione announced the introduction of landmark minimum wage reform legislation to create a “Living Wage” of $20 per hour for all Pennsylvanians.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained unchanged by the Pennsylvania legislature since July 6th, 2009, when Former Governor Ed Rendell signed Senate Bill 1090, Senator Tartaglione’s legislation raising PA’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage 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 our Commonwealth’s lowest earners and ensure that the needs of Pennsylvanian’s minimum wage earners are never forgotten or cast aside,” said Senator Tartaglione. “After 6,506 days of systemic inaction by our legislature, it became clear we needed big and bold legislative action. That’s why I am fighting to raise our minimum wage to a ‘living wage.’”

Senate Bill 1186 will raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to a living wage of $20 per hour on July 1st, 2024, and provide cost-of-living-adjusted increases every five years after that by tying the wage to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is a fraction of what is considered to be a livable wage in the state. Housing and other living expenses have continued to rise while Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has remained stagnant for over a decade.

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

  • Allowing municipalities to set a local minimum wage greater than the state minimum wage;
  • Setting the tipped wage to 70% of the minimum wage;
  • Guarding against wage theft by ensuring that the Department of Labor & Industry may recover wages and penalties for all violations of the act, not only when a complaint is filed;
  • Increasing monetary penalties for violations, which in some cases have not been updated since 1968;
  • Bringing enforcement in line with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by allowing workers to receive damages in addition to unpaid wages; and
  • Enshrining in law that gratuities are the sole property of the employee.

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

The co-sponsorship memorandum and text of the legislation can be found online.