Rendell Reminds Workers of Minimum Wage Increase Jan. 1

PHILADELPHIA – Gov. Edward G. Rendell today reminded workers and businesses that the first increase in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage in nearly a decade will take effect with the New Year, providing a much-needed pay boost to more than 420,000 employees.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage for most workers will increase to $6.25 an hour on Jan. 1, and to $7.15 an hour on July 1. The increase will be phased in on a different schedule for small employers. The increase was approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in July.

“Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do for Pennsylvania’s hard-working men and women,” Rendell said during a rally outside The Gallery at 10th and Market streets in Philadelphia. “Workers earning the minimum wage have not seen an increase in their paychecks for almost 10 years, while the costs of necessities such as food, heat, clothing and housing have risen sharply.

“Pennsylvania’s economy is growing, and it’s only fair that working families share our prosperity. This new law will provide a more equitable wage for those who are working hard to provide for their families.”

Rendell directed the Department of Labor & Industry to create a user-friendly Web page where both businesses and workers can get additional information about the implementation of Pennsylvania’s minimum wage increase.

The site is now available at PA Keyword: minimum wage.

The Web site provides a free downloadable copy of the minimum wage poster required to be displayed by all employers in the state, as well as a complaint form for workers who believe they may have been wrongly denied the higher wage.

Under a phased implementation schedule for employers with 10 or fewer full-time employees, the minimum wage will rise to $5.65 on Jan. 1; $6.65 on July 1; and $7.15 on July 1, 2008.

The new law also provides for a 60-day training wage, based on the federal $5.15-per-hour training wage, for employees under 20 years of age. Upon hiring, employers must notify workers of both the training wage and the workers’ right to receive the Pennsylvania minimum wage after 60 calendar days of employment.

The law also makes it clear that other workers may not be displaced to allow hiring of training-wage workers. In 1997, the minimum wage level was federally mandated at $5.15 an hour. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia already have minimum wage levels above $5.15 an hour, and six other states recently took steps to increase their minimum wage above the federal level.

The last time Pennsylvania’s General Assembly increased the minimum wage was in 1988.

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