Minimum wage to be raised for state workers

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HARRISBURG—Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the state will fulfill its commitment to raise the minimum wage for commonwealth employees to $15 per hour by January 31, 2022.

Wolf signed Executive Order 2016-02 in March of 2016 to raise the minimum wage for commonwealth employees under the governor’s jurisdiction to $10.15 per hour.

He amended that executive order in 2018 to increase pay for employees under the governor’s jurisdiction to no less than $12 an hour on July 1, 2018, with provisions to raise the wage by 50 cents a year until reaching at least $15 an hour in 2024. The governor amended the executive order once more to accelerate that timeline, effective January 31, 2022, for employees under the governor’s jurisdiction.

“I am committed to supporting workers, creating family-sustaining jobs and ensuring that, in Pennsylvania, hard work is rewarded fairly,” Wolf said. “In 2018, I made a promise to our state workers, to ensure that they are fairly compensated for their service to our commonwealth.

“Increases in the minimum wage raise employee morale, productivity and work quality, while lowering turnover and training costs. Accelerating the increase to $15 will better align worker salaries with the current cost of living, while providing even greater cost and efficiency savings for state government.”

The state has taken steps to modernize its approach to work and position itself as a model public sector employer for the 21st century. Improvements such as raising the minimum wage put the commonwealth in a strong position to attract and retain skilled workers, while better supporting workers and families in Pennsylvania.

“Over the past decade, the cost of food, gas and just about everything else has gone up, but the purchasing power of our minimum wage has dropped by nearly 17 percent,” Wolf said. “Compared to 50 years ago, the minimum wage has lost 31 percent of its value. That means today’s workers have to work 31 percent more hours to earn the standard of living that was considered the bare minimum half a century ago.”

According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, 21 states raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1, 2022. Four more states have increases slated for later in the year.

Eight states are on a path to $15, including red states, and President ​Joe Biden is raising the federal minimum wage for contractors to $15.

Overall, 30 other states have a higher minimum wage than Pennsylvania, leaving our workers behind with a wage floor of only $7.25.

Each of Pennsylvania’s six neighboring states already have minimum wages higher than $7.25 an hour, and several of them are among the 25 states with planned increases for 2022. As of Jan. 1, 2022, Pennsylvania is surrounded by states with the following minimum wages: Delaware ($10.50); Maryland ($12.20); New Jersey ($13); New York ($13.20); Ohio ($9.30); and West Virginia ($8.75).

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