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October 03, 2020

Pennsylvania's overtime pay benefits expand for the first time in four decades

A new rule raising the salary threshold to be eligible for benefits goes into effect Saturday

Labor Wages
overtime pay benefits expand. GoogleMaps/StreetView

Pennsylvania is expanding overtime pay regulations to allow more workers to qualify for overtime benefits starting Oct. 3, the state's Department of Labor and Industry announced Friday.

More Pennsylvania workers will soon be eligible for overtime benefits thanks to new legislation passed by Gov. Tom Wolf's administration that goes into effect Saturday.

The expansion updates the state's Minimum Wage Act regulations for overtime pay. In doing so, it will allow workers with higher annual incomes to qualify for the benefit. Prior to this, Pennsylvania's overtime pay regulations had not been changed since 1977. 

Pennsylvania's update will expands eligible overtime benefits past the federal threshold. The federal threshold to receive benefits was $23,660 of annual income prior to January 2020 when the Trump administration raised it to $35,568. Workers with that income can now receive benefits of $684 per week. 

The update to the federal threshold which raised the national salary threshold in January 2020 was the first change to income requirements since 2004. 

Pennsylvania's new rule raises state protections to exceed that threshold in a two phase plan that occurs over several years. The first phase goes into effect Saturday, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced on Friday.

Workers who make $40,560 annually will be eligible to receive overtime benefits of $780 per week starting Saturday. The next phase happens on Oct. 3, 2021, when workers who make $45,500 in annual income can start to receive $875 in weekly overtime pay

Starting in 2023 the salary threshold will then adjust automatically every three years. Pennsylvania workers who make more than these specified thresholds are not eligible for overtime pay.

The new rule will make approximately 140,000 additional workers eligible for overtime pay and strengthen protections for another approximately 250,000 Pennsylvania workers. 

Eligible workers who meet the salary requirements must also meet the following requirements:

• All hourly employees who work more than 40 hours per week, with few exceptions.
• Most salaried employees who work more than 40 hours per week and earn less than the salary threshold regardless of their job duties.
• Most salaried employees who do NOT perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, regardless of how much they are paid.

The new rule is also meant to help compensate workers more appropriately based on the contemporary cost of living and wages, as the rule's PA Bulletin posting explained. It's also meant to better meet the needs of workers in Pennsylvania. 

"Tomorrow marks the first update to the commonwealth's overtime regulations in more than four decades," Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Oleksiak said in Friday's release. "This final rule ensures that employees who work overtime are fairly and fully compensated for their labor in accordance with the original intent of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act."

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