Governor Wolf raises minimum wage for state employees


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order that increases the minimum wage for state employees.

This order ensures employees under the Governor's jurisdiction will be paid no less than $10.15 an hour.

"This is fair," said Governor Wolf in a press conference Monday afternoon. "What I'm trying to do with this executive order is something I can do for the limited group of people."

This increase only applies to 450 state workers and workers whose companies are on contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"That's 450 people out of 79,000 who work for the Commonwealth," said Wolf.

The minimum wage for these workers raised from $7.25 to $10.15.

Wolf said his goal as Governor is to make sure people working in Pennsylvania have a living wage.

"I hesitate because $10.15 is not really a sustaining family wage but it's better than where we are right now," Wolf said.

The estimated cost of this provision will be $1.5 million for payroll and benefits for the 450 individuals in 2016-2017. The Governor's office said agency budgets will appropriately cover the costs.

Most of the employees benefiting from this are seasonal workers.

The wage increase will go into effect immediately for all new contracts for state employees on or after July, 1 2016.

State Senator Daylin Leach sent 6 News a statement saying quote:

"I applaud Governor Wolf for this bold move. People who work full time should not have to live in poverty."

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center also sent 6 News a statement saying:

"But this is just the first step. The minimum wage needs to increase for all workers in Pennsylvania. And that's true not only because it helps working people, but also because it relieves pressure on Pennsylvania's budget."

Raising the minimum wage continues to be a push throughout the country.

Governor Wolf made a pitch to raise the state's minimum wage during the press conference.

"We need legislation that appeals to all employees, all workers in Pennsylvania," said Wolf

Wolf said it would affect 1.2 million workers, most of whom are adults.

"It's a smart move for businesses," Wolf said. "This would be a very smart move for the economy."

Wolf went on to say there are benefits with paying a fair wage including boosting morale, improving productivity and reducing turnover.

"The higher minimum wage will actually increase consumption," said Wolf. "With the current tax rate, it would increase Pennsylvania revenue by about $60 million a year just because people are making more money."

Currently, there are multiple bills in the State General Assembly to raise minimum wage, including one that could raise it to $10.10 an hour.

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