Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee votes on minimum wage increase and child labor protection legislation

HARRISBURG, June 13 – During a voting meeting Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee reported three pieces of legislation, H.B.1333, H.B.1354 and H.B.1500, out of committee and to the House floor.

H.B.1500 would increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania from $7.25 to $11 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2024; $13 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2025; $15 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2026 and indexed to inflation after. There would be annual cost-of-living increases beginning in 2027. The bill also sets the minimum wage for tipped workers at 60% of the hourly minimum wage. This is companion legislation to S.B.743, introduced by Sen. Dan Laughlin, chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

“The minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009, which is far too long. It’s not livable or viable and leaves us far behind our neighboring states,” state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., majority chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee said. “The people of the commonwealth deserve fair compensation for their work, and this is a step in that direction. But make no mistake, this is a compromise. If it was entirely up to Democrats, we would begin with a higher minimum for working people, because that’s what we believe in — people.”

H.B.1354, sponsored by Rep. Regina Young, would increase the penalties for Child Labor Act Violations from $500 to $1,000 for each initial violation. The fine for repeat violations would be raised from $1,500 to $3,000.

“At a time when it seems state legislatures around the country are intent on rolling back child labor laws, we are going in the right direction and seeking to strengthen protections for children,” Dawkins said. “We cannot have companies thinking that violating child labor laws is just an occasional unsavory part of running a business and not blatantly wrong and illegal.”

And H.B.1333, a companion bill to S.B.756, would allow for the use of recycled material in stuffed toys. When the Stuffed Toy Manufacturing Act was passed in 1961, the use of recycled materials was overlooked by the General Assembly.

“The recycled materials used in stuffed toys would go through the same rigorous and extensive testing to meet safety review that new materials do. It’s perfectly safe for consumers,” Dawkins said. “We’re opening another avenue for manufacturers to succeed in Pennsylvania, enabling them to meet their sustainability goals and not impeding them from competing in the global market.”