$15 Minimum Wage is a Vital Issue for Women

May 07, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf said today a $15 minimum wage would boost pay for 1.2 million working women, many of whom are working mothers already dealing with the gender pay gap.

“A $15 minimum wage is a women’s issue and it is vital for families,” said Governor Wolf. “Sixty percent of the workers who would get a raise are women, who are already paid less than men for the same work. These are hardworking women, often mothers, in demanding jobs to support themselves and their families.

“Raising the minimum wage to $15 is a step toward closing the gender pay gap. The 2 million low-wage workers in Pennsylvania – women and men – have waited long enough. It’s time for the legislature to raise the wage as 29 states, including all of our neighbors have done.”

Of the more than 2 million workers benefiting from a $15 wage floor:

• 1.2 million, 61 percent are women;
• 487,000, 24 percent, are parents;
• 1 million, 54 percent, have a family income under $50,000;
• 1.1 million, 55 percent, work full time of 35 or more hours per week.

The governor’s proposal to raise the wage to $12 per hour on July 1 and $15 per hour by 2025 has been introduced by Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione as SB 12 and Rep. Patty Kim as HB 1215. The proposal is supported by 38 Pennsylvania economists and nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians according to recent polls.

Putting more money in the pockets of workers will inject $9.5 billion into local economies and boost consumer spending in their communities. Raising the wage also reduces state costs as 70,000 adults work their way off Medicaid within two years, saving taxpayers over $150 million.

“A working mom or any person working full time should not have to worry about putting food on the table or paying rent,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvanian’s are hardworking people and that hard work should be rewarded.”

One fair wage also helps tipped workers ― two-thirds are women ― who have a tipped minimum wage of only $2.83. This expands the gender pay gap and protects the majority female workforce at risk of sexual harassment from customers. Women should not have to objectify themselves to try to get bigger tips.

One fair wage provides tipped workers an equal minimum wage to other workers and they keep the tips from customers.

“Tipped workers are not making enough, and in some cases, they have to endure harassment or worse, just so they can make a livable wage,” said Governor Wolf. “This is a moral failing. These workers deserve a fair wage and they’ve waited long enough. I’m tired of standing by and watching tipped workers get cast aside because we’ve been afraid to speak the truth.”

The commonwealth’s outdated minimum wage is $7.25, the lowest allowed by federal law. By trailing our neighbors, Pennsylvania workers earn less for the same work than those in West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland and all surrounding states.

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