HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania will be raising the minimum wage for commonwealth employees to $15 per hour by Jan. 31, 2022.

The Governor’s office announced an acceleration to the minimum wage timeline for commonwealth employees which was originally scheduled to set the $15 minimum wage in 2024 with 50 cent increments.

“I am committed to supporting workers, creating family-sustaining jobs and ensuring that, in Pennsylvania, hard work is rewarded fairly,” said Gov. Wolf. “In 2018, I made a promise to our state workers, to ensure that they are fairly compensated for their service to our commonwealth.

“Increases in the minimum wage raise employee morale, productivity and work quality, while lowering turnover and training costs. Accelerating the increase to $15 will better align worker salaries with the current cost of living, while providing even greater cost and efficiency savings for state government.”

Gov. Wolf also renewed his call for the General Assembly to raise the minimum wage for all workers in Pennsylvania.

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“Pennsylvanians deserve to be paid fairly for their work, but for too many Pennsylvanians, fair pay is just a dream because of Pennsylvania’s embarrassingly low minimum wage,” said Gov. Wolf. “The fact that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage hasn’t increased in 13 years is an embarrassment. It’s an insult to hardworking Pennsylvanians who are doing the same amount of work but finding that their paychecks cover less and less every single year.

“Over the past decade, the cost of food, gas and just about everything else has gone up, but the purchasing power of our minimum wage has dropped by nearly 17 percent. Compared to 50 years ago, the minimum wage has lost 31 percent of its value. That means today’s workers have to work 31 percent more hours to earn the standard of living that was considered the bare minimum half a century ago.

“Pennsylvanians are getting left behind the rest of the nation because of our low minimum wage, and it’s just not right. I call on the Republican leaders in the General Assembly to pass legislation to raise the wage for Pennsylvanians and give our workers the boost they need and deserve.”

Gov. Wolf called for the legislature to pass S.B. 12, sponsored by Sen. Tartaglione, or H.B. 345, sponsored by Rep. Patty Kim, to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour with a path to $15 an hour.

The Governor’s office says the increase to $15 would directly benefit nearly 1.5 million workers, or 25 percent of Pennsylvania workers.