Employees in Pennsylvania are protected by both state and federal overtime pay and labor laws. In several important respects, Pennsylvania labor law provides greater rights and protections than federal law does. The following information is provided as an overview for workers in PA on a number of common areas of concern, including Pennsylvania overtime pay and the application of certain exemptions from the PA
. While individual wage disputes are routinely handled by the PA Department of Labor & Industry, private law firms such as The Lore Law Firm, pursue most claims that involve a failure to pay PA overtime pay. These cases are handled on a contingent fee basis and are usually filed on behalf of the entire class of workers who were denied Pennsylvania overtime pay.
for a confidential and free review of your specific circumstances.
Minimum Wage Regulations
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage rate is currently $7.25 per hour which is the same as the federal rate. For tipped employees, the minimum wage rate is $2.83 per hour which is higher than the federal rate of $2.13 per hour. The employer must make up the difference if tips and the hourly rate do not meet the Pennsylvania minimum wage rate
On 3/7/2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for state workers to $10.15 per hour. While this does not apply to employees who work for private employers, he did call on state legislators to pass a minimum wage increase for all workers in Pennsylvania.
The mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, issued an executive order on 11/10/2015 raising the minimum wage for Pittsburgh city employees to $15.00 per hour by the year of 2021. The order raises the minimum wage for city workers to $12.50 in 2017, $13.75 in 2019, and $15.00 in 2021.
Philadelphia Mayor Nutter signed an executive order on May 6, 2014 increasing the minimum wage for city contractors from $10.88 to $12 per hour effective January 1, 2015. This order extended the Philadelphia minimum wage regulations to first-tier subcontractors as well.
Under Pennsylvania labor laws
, overtime pay of at least 1 ½ times the employee’s regular wage rate must be paid for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Under Pennsylvania labor laws, computer employees are not considered exempt as under federal law and, therefore, may be entitled to overtime, unless covered by another exemption.
Pennsylvania labor laws also do not provide an overtime exemption for employees earning more than $100,000 per year as does the federal law.
Outside sales employees in Pennsylvania must spend more than 80% of their work time away from the employer’s place of business making sales, a more demanding requirement than FLSA’s “primary duty” test. If an employee does not meet these requirements, but is designated as an “outside sales” employee, he may be due unpaid overtime.
Pennsylvania labor law also differs from federal law in that it does not allow the use of the fluctuating workweek method (aka Chinese Overtime) of paying overtime to salaried workers whose workweek fluctuates above and below 40 hours per week.
Holidays / Vacation
Pennsylvania labor laws
do not require that an employee be given paid holidays off or additional pay for working on a holiday. Pennsylvania state labor laws do not require that employers provide benefits like sick leave, vacation pay or severance pay. If provided, the employer must follow its own policies for these types of payments.
Effective May 13, 2015, employees who work at least 40 hours a year within the Philadelphia city limits will be eligible to earn paid and unpaid sick leave. If an employer has 10 or more employees, they must provide paid sick leave. Employers with less than 10 employees, must provide unpaid sick leave. For further details regarding Philadelphia sick leave, please see the Philadelphia Sick Leave Poster.
Meal Breaks / Rest Periods
Meal and rest breaks are not required for employees 18 and over. Minors between 14 and 17 years old must receive a meal break of at least 30 minutes if they work 5 or more consecutive hours.
If an employer does give a break and the break is less than 20 minutes, employees must be paid for this time. If employees are given a meal break lasting more than 20 minutes and are relieved of all work during this period, the employee does not have to pay for this time.
Employers must pay employees on regularly scheduled paydays designated by the employer. Employees must be informed at hiring of the time and place of payment and the pay rate and fringe benefits to be paid.
The time between the end of the pay period and the payday must not exceed:
- Time specified in a written contract between the employer and employee
- The standard customary in the trade, or
- 15 days.
Employers may make deductions from wages that are required by law. In addition, employees may give written permission for deductions to be made that benefit the employee; e.g., to pay back a loan from a third party. Blanket authorizations signed at hiring will not be valid. Deductions generally, cannot reduce gross pay below minimum wage.
Pennsylvania labor laws require that employees be provided with a pay stub for each pay period. The stub must show the beginning and ending dates of the pay period, the number of hours worked, the pay rate, the amount earned, itemized deductions, and net pay.
Statute of Limitations
An employee may recover unpaid wages under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment
and Collection Law going back 3 years from the date the wages were due and payable.