Wolf Administration proposes updates to minimum wage regulations to benefit tipped workers

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FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, the dome caps the Pennsylvania Capitol (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier announced on Friday, Nov. 19, new proposed regulations to update aging rules about how employers pay tipped workers and ensure that any salaried employee who works a fluctuating workweek schedule are compensated for overtime.

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“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. This proposal to update the Minimum Wage Act regulations aims to establish robust and modernized guardrails to protect tipped workers in the 21st Century and ensure consistency for employers,” Secretary Berrier said.

According to the release from the department, the proposal covers five primary areas for tipped workers including:

  • An update to the definition of “tipped employee,” adjusted for inflation since 1977, that increases the amount in tips an employee must receive monthly from $30 to $135 before an employer can reduce an employee’s hourly pay from $7.25 per hour to as low as $2.83 per hour.
  • Codification of a recent federal regulatory update governing employer tip credits to allow employers to take a tip credit under certain conditions, including that the employee spends at least 80 percent of their time on duties that directly generate tips, commonly known as the 80/20 rule.
  • An update to allow for tip pooling among tipped employees under certain circumstances.
  • A prohibition on employers deducting credit card transaction charges from an employee’s tip left on a credit card.
  • A requirement for employers to educate patrons on the employer’s use of service charges, clarifying that service charges are not gratuities for tipped employees. 

Plus, the regulation updates the definition of “regular rate” for salaried employees whose overtime pay is determined by the fluctuating workweek method, saying that for the purpose of calculating overtime, the regular rate is based on a 40-hour workweek.

The proposal is part of the Governor’s broader worker projection agenda and the administration’s commitment to fighting for workers to have fair wages, paid sick leave, safe workplaces, and quality jobs.

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