Gov. Wolf takes legislative action to bring state workers to OSHA standards, improve wages

Pennsylvania Politics

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Wolf visited Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 21, to announce a plan to protect workers, improve wages and quality of life in the state, as well as how it’ll help boost the state’s growing economy. According to the press release, the governor signed an executive order Thursday morning and called on the General Assembly to pass the legislation.

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“I’m taking executive action and calling for legislative action to create safer workplaces, promote higher wages, and guarantee paid leave for workers. These three necessary changes will help workers and transform the nature of work in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said.

Safer Workplaces

According to the press release, Gov. Wolf has directed the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) to “study the feasibility of implementing Occupational Safety and Health administration standards in officers under the governor’s jurisdiction,” as well as, those receiving state grants.

Plus, Gov. Wolf is calling for OSHA safety rules to extend to all public employees rather than just those in the nation’s private sector and federal employees.

Paid Sick Leave

The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has been directed to verify a business currently receiving an offer of assistance provides its workers paid sick leave and pays no less than the minimum wage before they make a financial incentive offer.

According to the press release, the governor is also pushing for legislation that would provide paid sick leave for workers in Pennsylvania to be passed. Roughly 400,000 Pennsylvania workers are without paid sick leave, which, according to the release, forces them to work when sick. The legislation would work to prevent this.

Increase Worker Pay

Despite Gov. Wolf’s proposed minimum wage increase has still not been approved, in the plan announced Thursday, Gov. Wold directed L&I to pursue regulatory changes so workers are fairly paid for their work time spent on activities such as security screenings and putting on the necessary equipment for their job.

Plus, L&I will pursue regulations so workers whose wages depend on tips receive the full amount earned and overall clarify the tipping process.

“With our economy on the comeback, there are so many job openings that people can select the option that is best for their family. This is a critical moment for Pennsylvania workers, and it’s time we stop asking why there is a labor shortage and start asking how we can make jobs better,” Gov. Wolf said. “With Pennsylvanians renowned for our work ethic, this is an opportunity to improve jobs in the state, which will attract and retain hardworking people to live here and bring new industries to the commonwealth.”

According to the press release, Gov. Wold also asked L&I to make “a list of bad actors that violate labor laws, misclassify their workers, owe unemployment compensation back taxes or fail to carry requisite workers’ compensation insurance.” The list will be available for the public to read.

“Over the past year and a half, we have seen just how essential all workers are in PA: from manufacturing and the supply chain to teachers to grocery store workers,” Pa. State Representative Jessica Benham said. “And while these workers support all of us – we must support them through legislation that raises the minimum wage, provides paid sick leave, and assures worker protections in both the public and private sectors.”

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