EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Workers in 21 states are seeing bigger paychecks with minimum wage increases that went into effect for the new year, but Pennsylvania isn’t one of them.
“I could use the extra money. Yes, they should raise it,” said Edgar Garcia, Scranton.
Pennsylvania has not raised its minimum wage since 2009. The commonwealth’s minimum wage currently sits at $7.25 per hour.
“It’s more than just. It should be raised. There’s enough money to go around,” Garcia said.
Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order in October calling on the General Assembly to pass legislation that would create safer workplaces, paid sick leave and increase worker pay.
The proposed Bill is waiting in the House and Senate for action that would both increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 per hour with a pathway to $15 per hour. The legislation would also implement annual minimum wage increases tied to the consumer price index.
“As a Pennsylvanian, personally I think it’s embarrassing that we have the lowest legal minimum wage in the country right now,” said Christopher Witko, Associate Director, Penn State University, School of Public Policy.
Witko says the market is in a sense “doing the work the legislature is failing to do.”
Many companies are increasing their starting wages to entice people to apply during what many are calling “The Great Resignation.”
“We need the government to set a reasonable minimum wage standard for when that labor shortage isn’t there and that market pressure isn’t there as much,” Witko explained.
Pennsylvania remains significantly lower than neighboring states when comparing minimum wage rates.
“That’s why we really do need to be in a situation where the government is increasing the minimum wage to be in line at least with neighboring states, if not higher,” Witko said.
Here is a comprehensive list of State Minimum Wage Laws from the U.S. Department of Labor.