Pennsylvania Employment Law
Pennsylvania's employment rate rose steadily in 2016 with new jobs in education and health services, construction and professional/business services in 2016.
However, unemployment remains a problem in the Keystone State. As the state's economy struggles with a slight population decline and a slow sales tax growth, employers are tightening budgets. This has opened the door for employment law violations such as wage theft in Pennsylvania.
Employment law covers a multitude of topics, including worker's compensation, workplace discrimination, vacation and overtime, unemployment benefits and more. Your employment dispute is often affected by federal, state and local laws simultaneously. Pennsylvania employment law attorneys are experienced with the delicacy and complexity of work-related cases and can help protect your rights.
Common Pennsylvania Employment Law Issues
Wage theft is a problem in Pennsylvania due to a lack of state legislation and infrastructure to address the issue. Wage theft happens when an employer doesn't pay a worker due compensation, usually resulting in light paychecks.
Employers can give any number of excuses for the practice and tend to retaliate against workers who speak up about it. This is especially a challenge for low-wage and part-time workers who are more vulnerable to wage theft and employer retaliation.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines wage and hour law in the U.S. and guarantees a worker's right to due compensation. Despite this, Pennsylvania employers still illegally practice wage theft causing workers to lose between $19 million and $32 million in wages total—or about 15 percent of their paycheck—in one week.
Philadelphia enforced a new Wage Theft Ordinance on July 2016 to provide workers with a means to report wage and hour violations to a city coordinator. The new law can force employers to repay stolen wages, enforce stiff employer penalties and protect workers from retaliation.
Pennsylvania Minimum Wage
Pennsylvania's minimum wage as of January 2017 is $7.25/hour, which reflects the federal minimum wage. In March 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order to increase the state government minimum wage to $10.15/hour, effective July 1, 2016. The Governor expressed his support to raise the state minimum wage to $10.15 for all other non-government workers.
Earning Overtime in Pennsylvania
While the FLSA sets the minimum standards for wages, hours and overtime, Pennsylvania's overtime laws differ from federal overtime laws to the benefit of its workers.
In Pennsylvania, an employee has the right to overtime pay equal to time and a half for hours worked beyond 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. Pennsylvania doesn't allow an employer to impose a salary limit preventing employees from qualifying for overtime. Overtime pay isn't mandatory for executive, administrative or independent contract positions, though.
Your employer is required by Pennsylvania law to observe the overtime provision that provides you with the greater benefit regardless of whether it originated with state or federal law. This means that if federal law excludes you from receiving overtime but Pennsylvania law permits it, your employer must follow Pennsylvania's overtime law.
Get Help from an Employment Attorney
If you or a loved one is involved in an employment law dispute, it's in your best interests to consult with an attorney. Employment law is a broad, complicated legal area with federal and state laws at play. An experienced employment law attorney can help protect your legal rights.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Employment Law for Employees Articles
- What is the minimum wage in Pennsylvania?
- What Is The Law Regarding Overtime?
- Is "Comp Time" Legal?
- How Many Employees Must My Employer Have Before S/He Has To Pay Overtime?
- Do I Have To Work Overtime If I Don't Want To?
- Are Salaried Employees Entitled To Overtime?
- Am I Entitled To Holiday Pay?
- Am I Entitled To Sick Leave? Vacation Pay? Severance Pay?
- Don't I Have To Be Paid For "On-Call" Time?
- What Is The Law Regarding Breaks And Meal Periods?
- Can My Employer Change My Rate Of Pay?
- What Can Be Deducted From My Paycheck?
- What Kind Of Information Is My Employer Supposed To Put On My Pay Stub?
- I Just Gave My Employer Two Weeks' Notice And S/He Fired Me. What Can I Do?
- How Soon After I Quit Do I Have To Be Paid?
- How Much Time Do I Have To File A Claim After Termination?
- Does The Department Of Labor & Industry Have To Take My Wage Claim?
- How Long Does It Take To Get My Money?
- What Is The Difference Between Full-Time, Part-Time And Temporary Employees?
- What Are The Requirements For Travel Time Pay?
- Am I Eligible For Unemployment Benefits?
- May I Collect Uc Benefits While Attending School?
- Does Unemployment Compensation Pay For Job Training Or Retraining While Claim Unemployment Compensation Benefits?
- Who Can Help Me Search For The Right Training Program And Help Pay For It?
- I Am A Pennsylvania Resident Laid Off From A Job In Another State, Where Should I File A Claim For Unemployment Benefits?
- I Was Laid Off Last Month And Didnt File An Application For Benefits Right Away. Can I Get Paid For Those Weeks?
- What Is New Hire Reporting And What Will Be Done With The Information?
- Is New Hire Reporting Mandatory For Every Employer?
- Isn't The Information Currently Available Through Other Reports Submitted To The Government?
- What Information Is Required To Be Reported?
- How Often Do I Have To Submit A New Hire Report?
- If I Lay Off And Then Re-Hire An Employee, Do I Need To Send In Another New Hire Report
- What Are The Methods Of Reporting?
- What Is Acceptable For The Employer Address, Contact Name And Phone Number?
- Do I Need To Submit A New Hire Report On A Newly Hired Employee Who Quits Before The New Hire Report Is Due?
- Am I Required To Report All Existing Employees?
- Are We Required To Submit A Report If We Do Not Have Any New Hires?
- If I Choose To Report Electronically Or Via Fax, Should I Follow-Up With Paper?
- What Are The Reporting Requirements For The Following?