Home Politics Wolf outlines plan to improve worker pay, sick leave, protections

Wolf outlines plan to improve worker pay, sick leave, protections

The governor is urging the passage of several bills

Source: Office of Gov. Tom Wolf

Gov. Tom Wolf recently outlined his workforce plan to benefit workers across the state.

“With our economy on the comeback, there are so many job openings that people can select the option that is best for their family,” he said. “This has created a tremendous moment for workers. With Pennsylvanians’ renowned work ethic, this is an opportunity to improve jobs and workplaces. My workforce plan will create safer workplaces, guarantee paid leave, and promote higher wages for workers.”

Through executive action, Wolf directed the Department of Labor & Industry and the Office of Administration to study the feasibility of implementing Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards in offices under the governor’s jurisdiction. State agencies will also ensure those receiving state grants and contracts follow labor laws and understand the consequences of not complying.

The governor is also calling on the legislature to pass S.B. 310, sponsored by Sen. Tina Tartaglione, and H.B. 1976, sponsored by Rep. Pat Harkins. These bills extend OSHA safety rules to all public employees.

Wolf is directing the Department of Community & Economic Development to verify a business receiving an offer of assistance provides its workers paid sick leave and pays no less than the minimum wage for state employees before making a financial incentive offer. The $13.50 minimum wage for state employees and contractors will reach $15 on July 1, 2024, under an executive order Wolf signed in 2018.

The governor is also urging the legislature to pass S.B. 13, sponsored by Sen. Vince Hughes, and H.B. 1035, sponsored by Rep. Mike Zabel, that would provide paid sick leave to workers in Pennsylvania. An estimated 400,000 Pennsylvania workers lack paid sick leave, which forces them to work when sick, risking their health and those around them.

In addition to the executive order on minimum pay for businesses receiving DCED offers, the governor called on the General Assembly to pass S.B. 12, sponsored by Sen. Tina Tartaglione, or H.B. 345, sponsored by the Rep. Patty Kim, to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour with a path to $15 and removes local preemption.

Wolf also directed L&I to pursue regulatory changes so people are fairly paid for their work time spent on activities such as security screenings and putting on equipment required for their job. L&I is also pursuing regulations so workers whose wages depend on tips receive the full amount of their tips and that there is better clarity around tipping processes and definitions.

He also announced that L&I will make publicly available a list of bad actors that violate labor laws, misclassified their workers, owe unemployment compensation back taxes, or fail to carry requisite workers’ compensation insurance.

Additionally, Wolf is urging legislative action to help out-of-work Pennsylvanians. The governor supports Rep. Gerald Mullery’s HB 549, which streamlines the process for eligible Pennsylvanians to receive unemployment benefits.

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