Today, nearly 4.1% of Pennsylvania’s workers make the minimum wage or less, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. That’s far higher than the national rate. Across the United States, only around 2.7% of employees make minimum wage or lower. Without a doubt, low-wage workers are most vulnerable to wage and hour violations.
Every year, employers throughout Pennsylvania steal millions of dollars in wages from their workers, simply by breaking State and federal labor laws. Some workers are paid below minimum wage, while others get stiffed on overtime pay. Many more just aren’t having their hours counted correctly, losing out across the board.
Filing An Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit In Pennsylvania
Thankfully, federal and Pennsylvania provide workers with an option. When your employer breaks the law, violating minimum wage or overtime standards, you can file a civil lawsuit and demand to secure those stolen wages. If successful, you may be entitled to win double your owed back wages, since federal law entitles some employees to so-called “liquidated” damages in lieu of interest.
Our experienced wage and hour attorneys have helped hundreds of workers win back their unpaid wages. Every day, we investigate employers large and small who, by violating State and federal labor laws, have stolen thousands of dollars from their employees.
Contact Our PA Lawyers Today
The attorneys at WageAdvocates.com regularly work with a national coalition of overtime lawyers who are devoted to helping employees understand their rights and, when possible, pursue legal action. Michael Monheit, Esq., one of this site’s lead sponsors, is licensed to practice law in the State of Pennsylvania.
If you believe that your employer isn’t paying you correctly, we can help. Call our attorneys today to receive a free consultation and begin exploring your legal options now. We’ll help you understand your rights as a Pennsylvania worker. Then, if we can help, we’ll offer our legal services on a contingency-fee basis. If we can’t secure compensation in your case, you pay us nothing. To learn more, call the Wage Advocates now.
What Is Minimum Wage In Pennsylvania?
The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is currently $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal rate outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Governor Tom Wolf proposed raising the State minimum wage to $12 per hour, but has fielded pushback from Republican members of Pennsylvania’s legislature, along with many small business owners. For the foreseeable future, $7.25 will be the reigning minimum wage in Pennsylvania.
Can Employers Take A Tip Credit?
Pennsylvania workers who make tips can, under certain circumstances, be paid a lower cash wage. When an employee regularly makes more than $30 per month, their employer can take a “tip credit” against the minimum wage. In essence, the employee’s earned tips are allowed to off-set the employer’s wage obligations.
How To Calculate A Tipped Wage
To properly calculate a tip credit, employers have to convert a worker’s weekly tip earnings into an hourly rate. That’s pretty simple. Let’s say a minimum wage worker in Pennsylvania made $200 in tips one week, while working a total of 35 months. That’s an hourly tip rate of $5.71, which is actually higher than the maximum tip credit allowed by Pennsylvania law. The highest tip credit an employer is allowed to take in Pennsylvania is $4.42, according to the Department of Labor. So the employer in our example can only deduct a maximum of $4.42 from the worker’s hourly cash wage.
Note that the employer wouldn’t be allowed to do that if the worker had made fewer tips. If the employee had only made an hourly tip rate of $2.50, $2.50 would be the tip credit allowed by law. In either case, the employer can simply subtract the tip credit, $4.42 in our example, from the minimum wage. That would be $7.25 minus $4.42, or $2.83, which we can now consider the employee’s cash wage for the week. In the end, the worker should be paid $2.83 for 35 hours, or $99, in cash wages.
Pennsylvania really doesn’t have minimum wage or overtime laws of its own. We saw that, in the case of the minimum wage, Pennsylvania follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to the letter. The same is true in the area of overtime law. When an eligible employee works more than 40 hours in a single week, they become entitled to a higher “premium” wage for their extra hours.
The overtime wage in Pennsylvania, as in federal law, is time-and-a-half, or 1.5-times a worker’s regular rate of pay. If you make $12 per hour, your overtime wage is $18. And if you make minimum wage, $7.25, your overtime wage should be $10.88.
Think you aren’t being paid correctly? Our lawyers are here to help. Learn more about your labor rights in a free consultation. Just contact the Wage Advocates today and speak to an experienced overtime attorney – at no charge and no obligation.