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The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

March 25, 2021 Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

The Statute That Sets the Standards for Wage Payment in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act is the statute that sets the minimum wage and overtime pay rules in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Recently the federal minimum wage has been in the news, as lawmakers have attempted to raise it from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour as part of COVID-19 relief legislation. That attempt has failed so far, but states can set their own minimum wage higher than the federal law—and Pennsylvania is attempting to do so.

Governor Tom Wolf has been pushing to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 per hour, with a $0.50 raise every year until it reaches $15 in 2027. Currently, the state’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour—the same as the federal minimum wage.

If Governor Wolf achieves this legislative goal, the minimum wage in Pennsylvania would rise to $12 per hour on July 1, 2021. In the meantime, this is the lay of the land for Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.

Thresholds and Exemptions To the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act currently requires all employers to pay at least $7.25 an hour, as well as time-and-a-half for overtime for all hours worked over 40 hours in a work week.

However, there are exemptions to minimum wage and overtime pay rules. The exemptions are complex, and factors include the employee’s job title, salary, and job duties.

In general, those who earn above a certain amount and perform certain duties do not qualify to earn overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. However, in 2020, Governor Wolf established new laws that raised the threshold for those qualifying for overtime pay—making more people eligible.

Violations of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

There are a number of ways that employers try to get around minimum wage and overtime pay laws—and these may be difficult to spot. Common strategies include:

  • Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime when their job duties should qualify them for overtime pay.
  • Deducting expenses in large enough amounts that the employee’s take-home pay falls below the minimum wage.
  • Not making up the difference for tipped employees whose tips don’t raise their take-home pay to the minimum wage.

Companies in violation of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act may be subject to serious fines, penalties, and other legal consequences.

What To Do if Your Employer Is Underpaying You

If you believe that your wages are unlawfully falling below the minimum wage threshold, or that your employer is failing to properly pay you for all work performed or overtime compensation that you are rightfully owed, you should speak to a qualified employment attorney.

You may be entitled to unpaid wages in addition to other damages and attorney’s fees. A knowledgeable employment attorney can assess your situation, determine the extent of the violation, and 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.