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Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act receives an update

Tipped employees are seeing a wage increase, plus many other updates by the end of this week

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act is finally getting an update on Friday.

And for many state employees, it has been a long time coming.

“It hadn’t been changed in almost 40 years, so they are just trying to get with the times,” said Ben Fileccia, the director of operations at Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. 

These new changes would align with many federal regulations, such as raising the tipped employees' minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. 

The updates also included a raise in minimum monthly tip earnings, from $30 to $135. If the tipped employee reaches this benchmark, the business owners can then reduce this wage to as low as $2.83 an hour. 

Pennsylvania would also be implementing the 80/20 rule.

“Eighty percent of the employee's time must be on tip-related duties as opposed to non-tip-related duties, such as kitchen prep, rolling napkins, or things that are not involved with guests,” said Fileccia.

Commonwealth leaders are working closely with businesses in order to make compliance as easy as possible by extending the implementation timeframe from 60 to 90 days.

Alex Harper, the director of government affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said that its main focus is to focus on compliance. 

 "We want to make sure employers know what is expected of them so they don’t accidentally find themselves noncompliant with the regulation,” said Harper.

Even with these updated regulations, some officials are still concerned. Since it is a regulatory measure, not a legislative measure, Fileccia said some voices were not heard.

"None of the folks that these regulations are affected by had any say and no seat at the table," she said. 

Some tipped employees in the industry now think the main update should be in tips themselves.

“If your wages are fluctuating so drastically from day to day, how can you make simple plans for the future?” said Palmer Marinelli, an organizer with Pa. Food Workers.

Marinelli says that these new measures are barely a drop in the bucket.

“We want to be treated like the average American worker. First thing is to end tip credit. When service employees are working that they are making at least the state minimum wage at all times. The second would be access to health care and paid time off,” said Marinelli. 

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