Today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order ensuring a minimum wage of $10.15 an hour for all employees under his jurisdiction and employees of Pennsylvania state government contractors.
“While we applaud this executive order, it underscores the need to raise the minimum wage for all Pennsylvania workers,” said Tara Murtha, Communications Chair of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health and Associate Director of Strategic Communications at the Women’s Law Project. “We are one of only two states in the Northeast with a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the lowest hourly wage permitted by federal law.”
In addition to signing the executive order, Governor Tom Wolf also called upon legislators to pass a minimum wage increase for all Pennsylvania workers.
Forty percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. In Pennsylvania, women are nearly three-quarters of minimum wage workers—a higher share than all but two other states.
This means that minimum-wage workers in Pennsylvania—mostly women—cannot support themselves and their families, even while working full-time, year-round jobs. 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.
“It’s a great step for Governor Wolf to raise the wages of state workers, but there’s still much work to be done… Raising the state minimum wage to $10.15 would give a raise to over 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers,” said Amy Fetherolf, Communications Director for Pennsylvania Working Families. “Pennsylvania’s workers and its economy are being left behind, as 29 other states have raised their minimum wage above the $7.25 federal level.”
Pennsylvania Working Families is a member of the PA Campaign for Women’s Health, a coalition of more than 50 organizations calling for common-sense policy solutions to real problems faced by real families.
The Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health and Raise the Wage PA 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.
Leadership members of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health include AccessMatters, Keystone Progress Education Fund, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice (NVP), New Voices Philadelphia, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, Philadelphia Women’s Center and the Women’s Law Project.
For more information about how the minimum wage affects working women and families in Pennsylvania, see this fact sheet.
To request an interview, contact Tara Murtha at tmurtha@womenslawproject. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, visit www.pa4womenshealth.org.