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Tipped workers will see changes under new rules in Pennsylvania

  • Julia Zenkevich/WESA
People gather at the Porch in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh Sunday, June 28, 2020. In response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, health officials are ordering all bars and restaurants in the county to stop the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption beginning on June 30.

Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

People gather at the Porch in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh Sunday, June 28, 2020. In response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, health officials are ordering all bars and restaurants in the county to stop the sale of alcohol for on-site consumption beginning on June 30.

New regulations meant to protect tipped workers in Pennsylvania will go into effect in August, the Wolf Administration announced on Wednesday.

In March, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office approved changes to Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage Act to ensure that tipped workers and salaried employees with irregular schedules are paid properly.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is the federally mandated rate of $7.25 per hour. But employers can pay tipped workers as little as $2.83 per hour if the worker makes at least $30 a month in tips. The new rules would increase the minimum monthly tips to $135.

“The world of work has changed significantly since these regulations first went into effect in 1977, but tipped workers remain a sizeable and critical segment of Pennsylvania’s workforce. They are the only workers whose take-home pay ultimately depends on the generosity of their customers and not the obligation of their employer,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier said in a statement. “This update to the Minimum Wage Act regulations aims to protect tipped workers in the 21st century and ensure consistency for employers.”

But some workers worry the change won’t make a difference because it still doesn’t add up to a livable wage.

Tipped workers will be required to spend at least 80% of their time working on “duties that directly generate tips” to be classified as tipped employees, who can be paid below minimum wage.

The changes will also bring Pennsylvania into alignment with federal regulations, such as excluding managers and supervisors from receiving money from pooled tips.

The Department of Labor and Industry will hold webinars for business owners to learn about the new regulations on July 12 and 19.

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