25 States Will Raise the Minimum Wage Next Year, Gov. Wolf Urges Republican Legislators to Act for Pennsylvania Workers

December 21, 2021

Workers in 25 states will see their paychecks grow when minimum wage increases go into effect in 2022, but Pennsylvania is not one of them because the Republican-led General Assembly has refused for over a decade to raise the commonwealth’s embarrassingly low $7.25-per-hour minimum wage.

“Pennsylvania’s food service, retail and social services workers have deserved a minimum wage hike for many years, but today the need is even more urgent. Millions of Pennsylvanians – many of them the frontline workers we called heroes in the early days of the pandemic – are struggling to support their families on hourly wages under $15,” Governor ​Tom Wolf said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the global economy, and we see that reflected in a very reasonable reluctance of workers to take low-wage jobs in the midst of rising inflation.

“Parents with young children literally cannot afford to work these jobs if the cost of child care eclipses their paycheck. I’m urging the General Assembly to pass legislation that increases Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour and creates a pathway to $15.”

There are proposed bills waiting in both the House and the Senate for action. Sen. Tina Tartaglione’s S.B. 12 and Rep. Patty Kim’s H.B. 345 would both increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 with a pathway to $15, then implement annual increases tied to the consumer price index.

The bills also eliminate the tipped wage by installing one fair wage for all workers and would create the opportunity for local municipalities to implement their own minimum wages higher than the statewide rate.

“The Pennsylvania legislature last increased the minimum wage in 2006 when they passed my legislation, Senate Bill 1090,” said Sen. Christine Tartaglione. “Since then our legislature has failed to raise the minimum wage and provide a livable wage to our lowest earners. This inaction is not just a failure in policy, but a failure in humanity and decency. Pennsylvanians deserve a living wage. We need to join the 25 states that will raise their minimum wage in 2022 and provide a livable wage to our commonwealth.”

According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, 21 states have minimum-wage increases set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Four more states have increases slated for later in the year.

Each of Pennsylvania’s six neighboring states already have minimum wages higher than $7.25 an hour, and several of them are among the 25 states with planned increases for 2022. On Jan. 1, 2022, Pennsylvania will be surrounded by states with the following minimum wages: Delaware ($10.50); Maryland ($12.20); New Jersey ($13); New York ($13.20); Ohio ($8.80); and West Virginia ($8.75).

PA AFL-CIO officers, President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder added, “As 2021 passes into 2022, it is unconscionable that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is still $7.25. Since the start of the pandemic, essential workers have been called heroes, even those who receive the lowest pay. Instead of treating those workers like zeroes, it’s time our legislators finally put meaning behind their words. It’s time to raise the minimum wage.’” 

Pennsylvanians strongly support raising the minimum wage. A Franklin & Marshall College poll released in March found 67 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters support raising the minimum wage to $12.

Modernizing the outdated minimum wage would benefit workers over age 20, as well as women, people of color and workers in rural communities. Seventy-five percent of the workers who would earn more are age 20 or older and nearly 40 percent work full-time. Six in ten workers getting a pay boost are women, and the highest percentage of workers getting a raise with a $15 minimum wage are in 29 rural counties.

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