Wolf’s Wage Mandate will Harm Workers

Fewer jobs, reduced hours, cuts to take home pay. That’s what Pennsylvanians are facing now that Gov. Wolf’s overtime wage mandates are moving forward.

Initially, Wolf wanted to increase the overtime salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,892 over a three-year period beginning in 2020 and ending in 2022. The new rules reflect Wolf’s incremental strategy to raise OT pay for salaried workers to $45,500 by 2022.

The final step for Wolf’s proposal is approval by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). The IRRC is made up of five people, including three Democrat appointments and two Republican appointments .

At the federal level, U.S. Department of Labor raised the overtime salary threshold to $35,568 , to take affect January 1, 2020 . The Wolf administration does not believe this federal rule covers enough Pennsylvanians, hence the push for an increased state threshold.

Wolf’s new thresholds would put the commonwealth in the company of California, New York, and Alaska who have the highest overtime thresholds in the country.

How do these wage mandates hurt workers? The Pennsylvania Chamber notes this mandate could damage morale as employees are moved from salary to wages and it adds burdensome record-keeping, less flexibility in work schedules and fewer benefits.

This example of government overreach is one reason why lawmakers should embrace regulatory reform. A great place to start is with  Senate Bill 8 and House Bill 806, sponsored by Sen. DiSanto and Rep. Keefer, respectively. The proposals would require legislative approval of any significant economic regulation imposing a cost of more than $1 million on the commonwealth, local governments, or the private sector.

For Pennsylvania to flourish, the Wolf administration should stay out of the wage-setting business and let the hard-working families who own and operate their businesses decide the best way to reward their employees.