Employment and Labor Laws

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Wage Payment Laws


Frequency of Wage Payments

Unless otherwise stipulated in a contract of hiring, an employer must pay employees not paid by an annual salary at least semi-monthly. If an employer pays wages semi-monthly,the first payment must be made between the first and fifteenth day of each month, and the second payment must be made between the fifteenth and the last day of each month.

PA Statute 43:251; PA Statute 43:253

An employer must pay all wages due to his employees on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. Overtime wages may be considered as wages earned and payable in the next succeeding pay period. All wages earned in any pay period must be paid:

  • within the number of days after the expiration of the pay period as provided in a written contract of employment or,
  • if not specified in an employment contract, within the standard time lapse customary in the trade or within 15 days from the end of the pay period.

PA Statute 43:260.3


Manner of Wage Payments

An employer may pay wages by:

  • cash
  • check
  • direct deposit
  • payroll card

PA Statute 43:260.3; PA Statute 7:6121; PA Statute 7:6121.1


Direct Deposit

An employer may pay an employee by direct deposit if the employee has consented in writing. The employee’s written consent must set forth all terms and conditions under which the direct deposit is to be made and the terms and conditions as to the method or methods to be used by which the employee may withdraw the written consent and terminate the agreement. Also, an employer must provide to each employee being paid by direct deposit a separate written record of each deposit at or prior to the time thereof. PA Statute 7:6121; PA Statute 7:6122


Payroll Card

An employer may pay an employee by direct deposit if the employee has consented in writing. The employee’s written consent must set forth all terms and conditions under which the direct deposit is to be made and the terms and conditions as to the method or methods to be used by which the employee may withdraw the written consent and terminate the agreement. Also, an employer must provide to each employee being paid by direct deposit a separate written record of each deposit at or prior to the time thereof. PA Statute 7:6121; PA Statute 7:6122

Also, the following conditions apply to paying employees by a payroll card account:

  • The employer must issued a payroll card in accordance with 12 CFR Part 1005 (relating to electronic fund transfers (Regulation E)).
  • The payroll card account must be established at a financial institution whose funds are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration.
  • The employer may not make the payment of wages, salary, commissions or other compensation by means of a payroll card account a condition of employment or a condition for the receipt of any benefit or other form of remuneration for any employee.
  • Prior to obtaining an employee’s authorization, the employer must provide the employee with clear and conspicuous notice, in writing or electronically, of all of the following:
    • All of the employee’s wage payment options.
    • The terms and conditions of the payroll card account option, including the fees that may be deducted from the employee’s payroll card account by the card issuer.
    • A notice that third parties may assess fees in addition to the fees assessed by the card issuer.
    • The methods available to the employee for accessing wages without fees.
  • The payroll card account must provide the employee with the ability without charge to make:
    • At least one (1) withdrawal each pay period for any amount up to and including the full amount of the employee’s net wages for that period or one such withdrawal weekly if the employee is paid more frequently than weekly.
    • One (1) in-network ATM withdrawal each pay period or one such withdrawal weekly if the employee is paid more frequently than weekly.
  • The payroll card account must provide the employee with a means of ascertaining the balance in the employee’s payroll card account through an automated telephone system or other electronic means without cost to the employee.
  • In addition to the other provided fees, an employer may not use a payroll card account that charges fees to the employee for any of the following:
    • The application, initiation or privilege of participating in the payroll card program.
    • The issuance of the initial payroll card.
    • The issuance of one replacement card per calendar year upon request of the employee.
    • The transfer of wages, salary, commissions or other compensation from the employer to the payroll card account.
    • Purchase transactions at the point of sale.
    • Nonuse or inactivity in a payroll card account consisting of the failure to withdraw funds from an account, deposit funds into an account, transfer funds to another person or use an account for purchase transactions, if the nonuse or inactivity is less than 12 months in duration.
  • The funds in a payroll card account may not expire. If a payroll card has an expiration date during the period when wages, salary or other compensation are applied to the payroll card account by the employer and for 60 days after the last transfer of wages, salary, commissions or other compensation to the account, the employee must be provided a replacement card without cost prior to the expiration date, unless prior to that date the account becomes subject to the custody and control of Pennsylvania under Article XIII.1 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 343, No. 176), known as The Fiscal Code, or pursuant to the unclaimed property or escheat law of another state, the District of Columbia or a territory of the United States.
  • The employer must honor an employee’s written or electronic request to change the employee’s method of receiving wages from a payroll card account to direct deposit or negotiable check. The change shall take effect as soon as practicable, but no later than the first payday after 14 days from receipt by the employer of the employee’s request and any information necessary to implement the change.
  • Nothing in the law regarding payroll card accounts may be construed to preempt or override the terms of any collective bargaining agreement with respect to the methods by which an employer provides payment of wages, salary, commissions or other compensation to employees.

PA Statute 7:6122.1


Payment upon Separation from Employment

An employer must pay en employee who has been discharged or terminated, who has quit or resigned, or who has been laid off, all wages due no later than the next regular payday on which the wages would have been paid if employment had continued. An employer must send the wages to the employee by mail if the employee requests it. PA Statute 43:260.5

Employees who are suspended or resigns due to a labor dispute (strike)

In the event of the suspension of work as the result of an industrial dispute, an employer must pay all wages due at the time of the suspension no later than the next regular payday on which the wages would have been paid if the suspension of work had not occurred. An employer is not required to comply with this time restriction if it is unable to prepare the payroll due to industrial disputes or for other reasons beyond its control. PA Statute 43:260.5


Wages in Dispute

In case of a dispute over wages between an employer and employee, the employer must give written notice to the employee of the amount of wages conceded to be due and must timely pay such amount without condition. Acceptance by the employee of any payment does not constitute a release as to the balance of his or her claim. PA Statute 43:260.6.


Deductions from Wages

Pennsylvania law does not specifically address whether an employer may deduct or withhold wages from an employee’s pay check to pay for:

  • cash shortages
  • breakage, damage, or loss of the employer’s property
  • purchase of required uniforms or clothing
  • required tools
  • other items necessary for employment

However, such deduction are probably not permissible. Pennsylvania Admin. Code 34:9.1 details the deductions that are permissible under the law and it specifically requires that any deduction be for the benefit of the employee. Deductions for cash shortages; breakage, damage, or loss of the employer’s property; purchase of required uniforms or clothing; tools; etc., are not consider to be deductions for the benefit of the employee, but instead, deductions for the benefit of the employer.

An employer may deduct or withdraw wages from an employee’s pay check for deductions authorized by and for the convenience of employees. The following deductions from wages are authorized for the convenience of employees:

  • Contributions to and recovery of over-payments under employee welfare and pension plans subject to the Federal Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 301 et seq.).
  • Contributions authorized in writing by employees or under a collective bargaining agreement to employee welfare and pension plans not subject to the Federal Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 301 et seq.). These include group insurance plans, hospitalization insurance, life insurance, provided such insurance policies are written by companies certified by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, and group hospitalization and medical service programs offered by nonprofit hospitalization and medical service organizations and medical group plans.
  • Deductions authorized in writing for the recovery of over-payments to employee welfare and pension plans not subject to the Federal Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 301 et seq.).
  • Deductions authorized in writing by employees or under a collective bargaining agreement for payments into the following:
    • Company-operated thrift plans.
    • Stock option or stock purchase plans to buy securities of the employing or an affiliated corporation at market price or less provided such securities are listed on a stock exchange or are marketable over the counter.
  • Deductions authorized in writing by employees for payment into employee personal savings accounts such as the following:
    • Payments to a credit union.
    • Payments to a savings fund society, savings and loan, or building and loan association.
    • Payments to the savings department of banks for Christmas, vacation or other savings funds.
    • Payroll deductions for the purchase of United States Government bonds.
  • Contributions authorized in writing by the employee for charitable purposes such as the United Community Fund and similar organizations.
  • Contributions authorized in writing by the employee for local area development activities.
  • Deductions provided by law, including but not limited to deductions for Old Age and Survivors Insurance (Social Security taxes), withholding of Federal or local income or wage taxes or occupation privilege taxes and deductions based on court orders.
  • Labor organization dues, assessments and initiation fees, and such other labor organization charges as are authorized by law.
  • Deductions for repayment to the employer of bona fide loans provided the employee authorizes such deductions in writing either at the time the loan is given him or subsequent to such loan.
  • Deductions for purchases or replacements by the employee from the employer of goods, wares, merchandise, services, facilities, rent or similar items provided such deductions are authorized by the employee in writing or are authorized in a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Deductions for purchases by the employee for his convenience of goods, wares, merchandise, services, facilities, rent or similar items from third parties not owned, affiliated or controlled directly or indirectly by the employer if the employee authorizes such deductions in writing.

PA Admin. Code 34-9.1


Uniforms, Tools, and Other Equipment Necessary for Employment

Pennsylvania does not have any laws prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee to purchase a uniform, tools, or other items necessary for employment.


Pre-hire Medical, Physical, or Drug Tests

An employer may not require any employee or applicant to pay the cost of a medical examination or the cost of furnishing any medical records required by the employer as a condition of employment, if the applicant or employee works for the employer for at least one work week. This prohibition does not apply where medical examination is required by law as a condition of employment. PA Statute 43:1002


Notice of Wage Reduction

An employer must inform an employee before changing his or her wage rate. PA Statute 43:260.4. An employer must inform an employee before changing wage deductions. PA Admin. Code 34: 231.22


Statement of Wages (Pay Stub)

An employer must furnish employee when wages are paid with a statement listing wages, hours worked, rates paid, gross wages, allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, deductions and net wages. PA Admin. Code 34:231.36


Record Keeping Requirements

An employer must keep for at least three years a true, accurate and legible record for each employee containing the following information:

  • Full name, and on the same record, the identifying symbol of the employee or number, if such is used in place of name on time, work or payroll records
  • home address including zip code.
  • regular hourly rate of pay.
  • occupation.
  • time and day that the workweek begins. If the employee is part of a work force or employed in or by an establishment where all workers have a work week beginning at the same time on the same day, a single notation of the time of the day and beginning day of the workweek for all workers shall suffice.
  • the number of hours worked daily and weekly.
  • total daily or weekly straight time wages, that is, the total wages due for hours worked during the workweek, including all wages due during any overtime worked but exclusive of overtime excess compensation.
  • total overtime excess compensation for the workweek, that is, the excess compensation for overtime worked, which amount is over and above all straight time earnings or wages also earned during overtime worked.
  • total additions to or deductions from wages paid each pay period. Every employer making additions to or deductions from wages shall also maintain, in individual employee’s accounts, a record of the dates, amounts and nature of the items which make up the total additions and deductions.
  • allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage.
  • total wages paid each pay period.
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by payment.
  • special certificates for students and learners as set forth in section 4(b) of the act (43 P. S. § 333.104(b)).
  • for employees working in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity or in the capacity of outside salesman, the basis on which wages are paid.

PA Admin. Code 34: 231.31; PA Admin. Code 34: 231.32


Notice Requirements

An employer must notify employees at the time of hire of or before any change to the:

  • time and place of payment,
  • the rate of pay, and
  • the amount of any fringe benefits or wage supplements to be paid to the employee, a third party or a fund for the benefit of the employee

An employer may give the required notification by posting the information and keeping them posted conspicuously at the employer’s place of business.

In cases where a bona fide collective bargaining agreement sets forth wages, amounts of any fringe benefits, or wage supplements, an employer can comply with the notice requirement by ensuring copies of that agreement are available to employees.

PA Statute 43:260.4


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