Minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania—mostly women—cannot support themselves and their families onearnings of just $7.25 per hour, or the tipped minimum cash wage of $2.83 per hour. Raise the Wage PA and the PA Campaign for Women’s Health support proposed legislation that would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, raise the tipped minimum wage to at least 70 percent of the minimum wage, index these wages to keep up with inflation, and increase penalties for employers who fail to pay workers the wages they are due. Increasing the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage are key steps toward fair pay for women in Pennsylvania.
• Women are nearly three-quarters of minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania—a higher share than all but two other states.(9) Women are also nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s tipped workers.
• Raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour or more would boost pay for over 1.2 million workers, most of them women,(10) and help close the wage gap.
• Of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage increased to at least $10.10 per hour, roughly two-thirds or more are at least 25 years old, and nearly one-quarter are parents.(11)
Minimum wage workers and tipped workers in Pennsylvania need a raise.
• A Pennsylvania woman working full time at minimum wage earns just $14,500 annually, more than $4,500 below the official U.S. poverty line for a mother with two children.(1)
Raising the minimum wage would help close
Raising the minimum wage and the tipped
Raising the minimum wage to at least $10.10 per hour, and raising the tipped minimum wage to at least 70 percent of
the minimum wage, are important steps toward fairer pay—but more needs to be done to provide real economic stability
for Pennsylvania’s hardworking women and their families.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds for 2014, https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/threshld/index.html (last visited Apr. 23, 2015). The poverty line in
2014 for a mother and two children is $19,073. Throughout this analysis NWLC calculations regarding full-time earnings assume 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year.
2 See NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State (May 2015), available at
3 See, e.g., Sylvia A. Allegretto & David Cooper, Econ. Policy Inst. (EPI) & Ctr. on Wage & Employment Dynamics, Univ. of Ca., Berkeley, Twenty-Three Years and Still
Waiting for Change, at 17-18 (2014), available at http://s2.epi.org/files/2014/EPI-CWED-BP379.pdf.
4 NWLC calculations based on American Community Survey (ACS) 2008-2012 five-year averages using Steven Ruggles et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series:
Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2010. Figures are for employed workers. NWLC defines tipped workers as all workers in a
set of predominately tipped occupations identified in Allegretto & Cooper, supra note 3, at 20, 23.
6 Restaurant Opportunities Ctr. United & Forward Together, et al., The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry, at 14-16 (Oct. 2014), available at
7 David Cooper, EPI, & Mark Price, Keystone Research Ctr., Falling Short: The Impact of Raising the Minimum Wage in PA to $8.75 vs. $10.10 (Feb. 2015), available at
9 See NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State, supra note 2. The share of minimum wage workers who are women is higher than
Pennsylvania only in Louisiana and Arkansas.
10 See Keystone Research Ctr., Characteristics of Pennsylvania workers who would be affected by increasing the minimum wage to $8.75, $10.10, $12 and $15 per hour
(May 2015), available at http://keystoneresearch.org/sites/default/files/KRC_Table2_4Proposals.pdf.
12 A higher minimum wage generally would narrow the wage distribution, effectively narrowing the wage gap. See Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, Institutional
Changes and Rising Inequality, 11 J. Econ. Perspectives 75, 78 (1997), available at https://www.aeaweb.org/atypon.php?return_to=/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.11.2.75.
See also Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, Gender Differences in Pay, 14 J. Econ. Perspectives 75, 93 (2000), available at
13 NWLC, Women, the Minimum Wage, and the Wage Gap, State by State, supra note 2.
15 Julie Vogtman & Katherine Gallagher Robbins, NWLC, Higher State Minimum Wages Promote Fair Pay for Women (May 2015), available at
http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/higher_state_minimum_wages_promote_fair_pay_for_women_may_2015.pdf. Figures are for 2013.
16 See U.S. Census Bureau, supra note 1.
17 See generally T. William Lester et al., Ctr. for Amer. Progress, Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help, Not Hurt, Our Economy (Dec. 2013), available at
https://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/labor/news/2013/12/03/80222/raising-the-minimum-wage-would-help-not-hurt-our-economy/. See also John Schmitt,
Ctr. for Econ. & Policy Research, Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? (Feb. 2013), available at
http://www.cepr.net/publications/reports/why-does-the-minimum-wage-have-no-discernible-effect-on-employment (reviewing research demonstrating that minimum
wage increases historically do not cause job loss, even during periods of recession).
18 Daniel Aaronson, Sumit Agarwal & Eric French, Fed. Reserve Bank of Chicago, The Spending and Debt Responses to Minimum Wage Increases, at 10 (Rev. Feb. 2011),
available at http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/2007/wp2007_23.pdf.
National Women’s Law Center
Women’s Law Project
Raise the Wage PA