PENNSYLVANIA MINIMUM WAGE FACT SHEET

March 1, 2007


HOUSE BILL 349

 

SPONSORED BY COHEN, BELFANTI, DeWEESE, JAMES, PARKER, CONKLIN, M. O'BRIEN, CURRY, EACHUS, SOLOBAY, WATERS, MELIO, LEVDANSKY, CALTAGIRONE, DePASQUALE, OLIVER, MYERS, LEACH, McGEEHAN, SIPTROTH, BENNINGTON, SANTONI, BLACKWELL, CASORIO, COSTA, FREEMAN, GEORGE, GIBBONS, GRUCELA, JOSEPHS, MAHONEY,

MANDERINO, ROEBUCK, PETRONE, KULA and STURLA.—February 9, 2007

 

 This bill amends the Minimum Wage Act of 1968 (P.L. 11, No. 5) to further increase the minimum wage to an eventual level of $9.35/hr and it adds an annual COLA into the law.

 

This bill amends the Minimum Wage Act to require the following three-step increase in the minimum wage, after the already required July 1, 2007 increase to $7.15/hr:

                        1. Effective January 1, 2008, employers pay a minimum wage of $8.15/hr.

                        2. Effective January 1, 2009, employers pay a minimum wage of $8.75/hr.

                        3. Effective January 1, 2010, employers pay a minimum wage of $9.35/hr.

 

The bill also requires that on January 1, 2011 and each year after, the minimum wage would be adjusted for the increase in cost-of-living. This would be calculated by applying the percentage change in the CPI for all urban consumers for the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland area, for the most recent 12 month period (as determined by U.S. Department of Labor). The Department of Labor & Industry would be responsible for calculating the annual adjustment.

 

SURROUNDING STATES/ OTHER STATES

There are 30 states plus the District of Columbia with higher minimum wages than the Federal Minimum Wage: Alaska ($7.15); Arizona ($6.75*); Arkansas ($6.25); Colorado ($7.50*); California ($7.50, $8.00 in 01/2008); Connecticut ($7.40); Delaware ($6.65), the District of Columbia ($7.00), Florida ($6.40*); Hawaii ($7.25), Illinois ($6.50); Iowa ($6.20 beginning in 04/2007, $7.25 in 01/2008); Maine ($6.75, $7.00 in 10/2007); Maryland ($6.15); Massachusetts ($6.75); Michigan ($6.95, $7.15 in 07/2007, $7.40 in 07/2008); Minnesota ($6.15); Missouri ($6.50*); Montana ($6.15*); Nevada ($6.15* w/o benefits, $5.15 w/ benefits); New Jersey ($7.15); New York ($7.15); North Carolina ($6.15); Ohio ($6.85*); Oregon ($7.50*); Pennsylvania ($6.25, $7.15 in 07/2007); Rhode Island ($7.40); Vermont ($7.25*); Washington State ($7.63*); West Virginia $5.85, $6.55 in 06/2007, $7.25 in 06/2008); and Wisconsin ($6.50).

*Future increases indexed to cost of living

 

Nearly 67% of all Americans live in states protected by higher minimum wages than mandated by federal law

 

MINIMUM WAGE AND POVERTY

The United States Department of Health and Human Services 2007 Poverty Guideline for a family of three is $17,170.  A full time Pennsylvania minimum wage worker earns only $13,000, assuming he or she works 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.  That is $4,170 below, or just 75.7% of, that poverty line.  A one parent, one child family falls $690 below the poverty line for a family of two of $13,690. 

 

The minimum wage is currently $6.25 per hour. If the minimum wage at its height in 1968 had been indexed for inflation, it would be over $9.10 today (calculated in year-end 2006 dollars).

 

How Many Pennsylvanians Would Benefit?

 

According to the Pennsylvania Dept of Labor and Industry, 257,000 or 7.9 % of the Pennsylvania's hourly workforce would benefit from a one dollar per hour increase in the state's minimum wage. 528,000 Pennsylvanians or 16.3% of the state's workforce would benefit from a two dollar per hour increase in the state's minimum wage. (According to data compiled by the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry from 2003 U.S. Dept. of Labor BLS Current Population Survey)

 

Who are Minimum Wage Workers?

 

 

NOT JUST A FEDERAL ISSUE

 

The minimum wage is not a federal issue, it is a fairness issue. This is an issue of simple social justice.  As it is bad federal policy to allow a small family with a full-time wage earner working 40 hours a week 52 weeks out of the year to live in poverty,  it is equally bad state policy.  Today's minimum wage is not a living wage and it is not a fair wage for Pennsylvania’s families.