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The PA Minimum Wage Act and the PA Wage Payment and Collection Law

April 8, 2022 Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

Two Pennsylvania Laws That Protect Your Right to Get Paid

In Pennsylvania, two important statutes protect your right to be paid a fair wage—and your right to sue to collect that wage, if a dispute arises. They are the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Wage Payment and Collection Law.

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act sets the rules for minimum wage and overtime in Pennsylvania. Under this law, employers must pay at least the state minimum wage, plus time and a half for hours worked over 40 per week.

There are exceptions to the Minimum Wage Act which allow employers to pay less than the minimum wage under certain circumstances—such as for tipped employees, who are expected to make up the difference in tips—and for employees who meet certain earning thresholds or have specific job titles and duties that are generally expected to be high-earning.

Employers sometimes try to bend the rules around these exceptions, so they can avoid paying minimum wage and overtime for employees who should be eligible. Some tactics they use include:

  • Misclassifying an employee as exempt, even though their job duties, pay threshold, and other factors should make them non-exempt from overtime wage requirements.
  • Deducting workplace expenses until the employee’s total take-home pay is less than the minimum wage.
  • Not notifying employees about changes in minimum wage laws that make them eligible for overtime pay and other protections.
  • Paying tipped workers less than minimum wage, even though more than 20% of their time is spent on non-tipped tasks.
  • Failing to make up the difference for tipped employees whose take-home pay does not rise to the minimum wage.

Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law

The Wage Payment and Collection Law lays out how employers should pay employees, and provides a mechanism by which employees can recover unpaid wages they are owed.

According to the law, all employers are required to pay wages on regularly scheduled paydays that are determined in advance. Employers must notify employees of the pay rate, the pay schedule, how the payment will be made, and the amount of wage supplements and fringe benefits owed.

In addition, the waiting period between the end of a pay period and a payday must not exceed a specific period of time. That period varies, and may be as specified in an employment contract; a timeframe that is standard in the industry; or 15 days.

Further, if an employee quits, resigns, or is fired, the employer must pay all owed wages no later than the next scheduled payday. If a dispute arises, employees can sue an employer to recover unpaid wages—as well as reasonable attorney fees and court costs. Additional damages may also be on the table, depending on how long the wages remain unpaid.

Involved in a Pay Dispute? Contact a Knowledgeable Employment Lawyer

If your employer is withholding your pay, improperly paying you less than the minimum wage, or misclassifying you as exempt, a knowledgeable Philadelphia employment lawyer can help you recover what’s owed. 

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today. 

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.