Governor Wolf Signs Executive Order to Raise Minimum Wage, Calls on Legislature to Raise Minimum Wage Statewide

March 07, 2016

Harrisburg, PA – Today, as part of his “Jobs That Pay” initiative, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order that ensures employees under the governor’s jurisdiction will be paid no less than $10.15 an hour. The executive order also covers employees of organizations that negotiate state contracts or that lease property to the commonwealth. Those employees that perform direct services to the commonwealth or spend at least 20 percent of their working time on ancillary services related to the contract or lease will be paid a minimum of $10.15 an hour. This provision will take effect when contracts or leases are solicited or bilaterally modified on or after July 1, 2016. If the legislature acts to expand the raise to the entire state, revenue would be boosted by roughly $60 million annually, providing additional resources to fund critical programs across the commonwealth.

“Since the beginning of my administration, I have made creating good paying jobs, increasing efficiency, and achieving cost savings in state government top priorities,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “An increase in the minimum wage will achieve efficiency and cost savings for state government, reduce state expenditures on income support programs, and give valued employees a well-deserved raise.”

To view the executive order, click here.

The inflation-adjusted hourly earnings of the bottom fifth of Pennsylvania workers are lower today than they were in 1979. The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has 18 percent less purchasing power than the minimum wage had in 1979. A full-time, year-round worker earning the current minimum wage earns less than the federal poverty threshold for a family of two. Studies have consistently shown that increases in the minimum wage have not reduced the employment of low-wage workers.

“An increase in the minimum wage will lead to increases in employee morale, productivity, and quality of work and decreases in turnover and the cost of training and supervision,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

In addition to signing the executive order, Governor Tom Wolf also called upon legislators to pass a minimum wage increase for all Pennsylvania workers.

“I am calling on the Pennsylvania House and Senate to pass legislation that increases the minimum wage in Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “A minimum wage increase to $10.15 per hour supports local businesses, creates new jobs, and would boost state revenue by roughly $60 million annually.”

Charlie Crystle, Co-Founder and CEO of The Lancaster Food Company, said, “People who put in a full day of work should get a full day’s pay that at least covers basics like housing, food and transportation – but you can’t make ends meet on $7.25 an hour. Investing in staff reduces costly turnover and creates a more committed, productive, healthier workforce, which helps my business prosper. And raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of workers who most need to spend it, boosting local businesses and communities. I strongly support a statewide minimum wage increase to at least $10.15 an hour.  Paying at least that is good for everyone – employees, their families, our communities, and yes, our businesses.

John Traynor, owner of the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, which includes The Kitchen & Gallery Bar, a 150-seat restaurant, said, “The Governor’s action is a vital step forward. I urge our legislators to now pass a minimum wage raise for all Pennsylvanians. It makes great business sense. Businesses throughout our state will see greater consumer demand as workers have more money to spend. Increasing the minimum wage will lead to greater employee retention, which reduces hiring and training costs, and increases productivity. I know from experience that building a brand with loyal employees is the most important thing for customer satisfaction and long-term growth.”

The increase would benefit more than 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers, many of whom are adults with families.

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