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Pennsylvania State Senate Passes Bill to Increase Minimum Wage

By Kevin Levine / Nov 21, 2019

On November 20, 2019, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed Senate Bill 79 (“SB 79”), which would increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to $9.50 an hour by 2022. SB 79 will now proceed to a vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where it is anticipated to pass.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which is equal to the minimum required under federal law. Beginning July 1, 2020, SB 79 would incrementally raise the minimum wage as follows:

  • July 1, 2020: $8.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021: $8.50 per hour
  • July 1, 2021: $9.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022: $9.50 per hour

SB 79 represents a compromise between the Republican controlled Senate and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. In exchange for the minimum wage increases from the Senate, SB 79 effectively repeals a Department of Labor regulation recently approved by the Governor that, beginning in 2020, would have raised the salary threshold for overtime exempt employees above the already increased federal threshold that is slated to go into effect at that time. Instead, SB 79 provides that Pennsylvania’s overtime exemption threshold will match federal law until 2023, at which time the Department of Labor will regain the power to modify it.

Although SB 79 is not law until approved by the House and signed by the Governor, Pennsylvania employers should anticipate and begin planning for an $8.00 per hour minimum wage that begins on July 1, 2020. The full text of SB 79 is available on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website, which can be viewed by clicking: here.

If you have any questions about SB 79 or the salary threshold for overtime exempt employees, you may contact Kevin Levine at klevine@clarkhill.com | (215) 640-8524 or another member of Clark Hill’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.