Pennsylvania House wraps year without vote to increase minimum wage

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives on Wednesday held its final scheduled day of session for 2019 without moving a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage.

​The minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been at the federal level of $7.25 an hour since 2009. ​​

The Senate last month passed Senate Bill 79 to gradually raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2022. ​​That bill is in committee in the House.​

​Gov. Tom Wolf has said if the bill doesn’t pass by the end of the year, he would allow the Independent Regulatory Review Commission to proceed with a vote to extend overtime pay eligibility to thousands of Pennsylvania workers.​​

Beginning in January, Pennsylvanians making less than $35,568 a year would be required to get time-and-a-half pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a week.

The governor’s proposal would increase the threshold to $45,500.​​

“Cuts in hours, cuts in employees. We do think there’s an employee aspect to this that gets lost in the mix,” said Gordon Denlinger, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. “Ultimately, we would really like to see a compromise that is pro-business.”

​​Democrats originally called for a minimum wage of $15 an hour. They say that proves they have been willing to compromise.​​

“Thousands of hard-working men and women struggle to support themselves and their families because of our embarrassingly low minimum wage,” Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said.

A House GOP spokesman said members are evaluating the minimum wage increase. There is no word on when or if the bill will be brought up for debate.​

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