HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — In a stalemate with lawmakers over raising the minimum wage or requiring companies to have paid sick leave, Gov. Tom Wolf said Thursday he will impose those requirements on companies getting loans, grants or tax breaks from the state.
The minimum wage that incentives-receiving companies must pay is $13.50 an hour, rising to $15 an hour on July 1, 2024, under an executive order signed by Wolf. State contractors already must pay that amount, under a prior executive order Wolf signed in 2016.READ MORE: Allegheny County's 911 Call Center Losing Dispatchers Who Feel Overworked
“This is something that is really important for workers, but it’s also important for businesses,” Governor Wolf said.
The sick pay requirement has no required time frame attached to it.
The state annually budgets for tens of millions of dollars in grants, loans and tax breaks for companies that make certain promises to expand in Pennsylvania.
He calls it “embarrassing” that our neighboring states have higher minimum wages than PA @KDKA
— Chris Hoffman (@NewsmanChris) October 21, 2021
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has been set to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour since 2009, when Congress last increased it.
Since Wolf took office in 2015, he has urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to increase the minimum wage, without success amid GOP opposition.
“Over the last 19 months, the Wolf administration has shown they know more about destroying Pennsylvania jobs than creating them,” House GOP spokesperson Jason Gottesman said.READ MORE: Last-Second Shot From Virginia's Jayden Gardner Sinks Pitt
Currently, 29 states have set minimum wages above the federal minimum, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Thirteen states have enacted laws to require paid sick leave, the NCSL said. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have approved their own ordinances to require it of companies doing business in those cities.
“Workers treated well are going to perform much better and serve the customer in the service industry or a goods industry much better,” Gov. Wolf said.
“He really doesn’t care what job creators and small businesses think about the best way to create jobs cause he knows best,” Gottesman said.
With a push to raise the minimum wage, there is pushback that it could kill small businesses that are already struggling.
“The best form of economics is a steady job and not more unilateral mandates from Harrisburg,” Gottesman said.
Governor Wolf touted his time as a small businesses owner and said raising the minimum wage made his company more profitable.
“It’s a misunderstanding and misconception that stiffening your workers is the way to high profitability,” he said.MORE NEWS: Know The Score: December 3, 2021
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