Pennsylvania Labor Laws 2024 | Wage and Hour Laws in Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania Labor Laws

Pennsylvania labor laws, including Pennsylvania labor laws 2024, impact the daily lives of employees and employers in Pennsylvania. Residents of Pennsylvania have many questions that affect them every day regarding Pennsylvania labor laws from minimum wage rates, overtime, wage payments, vacation and sick leave, child labor, meal and rest breaks, and more.

In addition to Pennsylvania labor laws, employer must also comply with federal labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and many other federal laws. And when federal laws are different from state Pennsylvania labor laws, usually companies must comply with the law that provides their workers the best protection.

Below we provide comprehensive information and resources regarding your more pressing Pennsylvania labor law questions to help you answer the question and help you make the right decision about you and your employment.



Minimum Wage

Pennsylvania’s current minimum wage is $7.25.

The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is set on par with the federal minimum wage, so if the federal minimum wage increases, so will Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. See Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act For tipped employees, the minimum wage is $2.83 per hour. Employers are only allowed to pay employees the tipped minimum wage if the employee regularly receives over $30 in tips per month.

Employers must, however, ensure that tipped employees earn the minimum standard salary when the minimum wage is combined with tips. In addition, if an employee does not earn at least the legal minimum wage in Pennsylvania, the employer must make up the difference.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s minimum wage laws, visit our Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topic covered on other pages include:


Overtime

Pennsylvania labor laws require an employer to pay overtime to employees, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of 1½ times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. PA Dept. of Labor: Wage and Hour FAQs.

Federal laws under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) state that employees are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week unless otherwise exempt. Standard overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular pay. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers in Pennsylvania may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates. Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

Pennsylvania labor laws require employers to provide a thirty (30) minute break period to employees ages fourteen (14) through seventeen (17) who work five (5) or more consecutive hours. PA Statute 43-40.3(a)

Employers are not required to provide break time to employees eighteen (18) and over. PA Dept. of Labor: Wage and Hour FAQs. If an employer chooses to provide a break and it lasts less than twenty (20) minutes, it must be paid. If an employer provides a meal period, it does not need to be paid if the employee does not work during the meal period and it lasts more than twenty (20) minutes. PA Dept. of Labor: Wage and Hour FAQs


Nursing Mother Breaks

Pennsylvania labor laws do not require employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires certain employees to provide nonexempt nursing mothers for one (1) year following a child’s birth with reasonable rest breaks to express milk and private spaces, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.


Leave Laws

If you want to learn about Pennsylvania vacation, sick, holiday, and other leave laws, here’s a detailed guide.

Vacation Leave

In Pennsylvania, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, whether unpaid or paid. However, if the employer offers vacation leave benefits, they must comply with the terms established in the employment contract or vacation leave policy. An employer must also pay employees for accrued vacation time upon the end of the contract or separation from employment. There is no legislation on the cap or amount of vacation leave an employee can accrue or whether an employer can implement the use-it or lose-it policy.

Sick Leave 

Pennsylvania law states that employers are not required to provide employees with sick leave benefits, whether unpaid or paid. However, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other federal laws, an employer in Pennsylvania may be required to provide unpaid sick leave to employees. Moreover, if an employer provides sick leave benefits, they must comply with the terms set out in the employment contract or sick leave policy.

Holiday Leave

Pennsylvania law states that employers do not have to provide employees with unpaid or paid holiday leave. An employer may also require employees to work on holidays. However, a private employer does not have to pay employees a premium for working holidays, such as 1.5 times the regular rate. This is the case unless this time also qualifies that employee for overtime pay under standard federal overtime laws. However, if an employer offers employees unpaid or paid holiday leave, it must comply with the employment contract or holiday leave policy. In addition, various Pennsylvania state holidays are officially recognized and observed.

Jury Duty Leave

An employer in Pennsylvania is required to allow employees to attend jury duty. However, they are not allowed to deprive an employee of seniority or benefits, or threaten, discharge, or coerce them from attending jury duty. However, this does not apply to employers in the retail industry with fewer than 15 employees or those in the manufacturing industry with fewer than 40 employees. In addition, an employer is not required to pay an employee for any time spent responding to jury duty.

Voting Leave

Pennsylvania does not have any laws that require an employer to grant an employee leave to vote, whether unpaid or paid.

Crime Victim Leave

Pennsylvania labor laws require employers provide employees with crime victim leave to attend court because they victim of, or a witness to, a crime or a member of such victim’s family. A family members include a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, spouse, uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, nephew, anyone maintaining a common-law relationship with the employee, and anyone residing in the same household as the employee.


Severance Pay

Pennsylvania labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. PA Dept. of Labor: Wage and Hour FAQs. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, Pennsylvania residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits.

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Being fired due to poor performance may not necessarily disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits, although misconduct will.

If you were downsized, laid off, or lost your job due to a reduction in force, you will still qualify. The worker must be able to work, available to work, and actively seek employment.

Furthermore, to be eligible for Pennsylvania unemployment benefits, you must have earned at least $116 per week during at least 18 weeks in the base period. You must have also earned at least $1,688 during the highest quarter in your base period. You must have also made at least $3,391 in total wages during that base period.

See Pennsylvania State Unemployment Benefits.


Other Pennsylvania Labor Laws Topics and Resources

There are several other Pennsylvania labor laws governing the employers and their workplaces. Below are those topics and resources:

  • Pennsylvania Child Labor Act sets forth the states child labor laws for children 17 years of age and younger. It is enforced by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (BBLC). Pennsylvania labor laws regarding minors cover topics including work during school hours and summer hours, school days and summer days, hour restrictions, and hazardous occupations.
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Human Relations Act addresses workplace discrimination and is enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Employees are also protected by federal discrimination laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The state and federal discrimination laws offer employees protections and violations based on the following:
Disability or relationship with a person with a disabilitySex, including sexual harassmentGender expressionNational Origin
Race (includes hair texture)Sexual orientationReligionAncestry
CreedGender identityAge (40+)Pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions
ColorGED instead of High School DiplomaUse of service animalRetaliation

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