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NASW-PA Statement on Min Wage Increase

Tuesday, March 15, 2016   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Tyler Woodcook
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Support for Increasing the Minimum Wage

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage of all employees under his jurisdiction and of Pennsylvania state government contractors from $7.25 to $10.15 per hour. The National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter (NASW-PA) commends Governor Wolf for his leadership and commitment to a living salary for state employees.

With this encouraging news from Governor Wolf’s office also comes the question, "What about the rest of Pennsylvania’s workers still earning $7.25 per hour?” The mother earning $7.25 per hour working 40 hours per week for 50 weeks each year only receives $14,500 annually—below the poverty level. This mother has no choice but to seek public assistance to help her feed her two children, turn the heat on in the middle of January and visit the dentist once each year.

With 29 other states having raised their minimum wage above the $7.25 federal level, Pennsylvania’s economy is being left behind. Raising the minimum wage for all Pennsylvania workers from $7.25 to $10.15 per hour, consistent with the raise for state workers, would be giving a raise to more than one million Pennsylvanians. Minimum wage increases stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending, without adding to state budget deficits. Despite fears about the adverse effect of a minimum wage increase on businesses, the Center for Economic and Policy Research cites studies which demonstrate that when the minimum wage has been increased, there has been no significant reduction in employment or slowing of job growth, even when the economy was struggling. Strengthening the minimum wage can help build a sustainable economic recovery without increasing costs for taxpayers.

With a minimum wage increase to $10.15, the mother working full-time receiving minimum wage would earn $20,300 annually rather than $14,500; a very modest salary for a family of three, but a salary which may be the difference between having to choose to pay the electric bill or the water bill because there is not enough money for both, and paying all monthly bills while setting aside an additional $15 for the end of the month when the family is low on diapers.

NASW-PA strongly encourages the legislature to consider the many benefits of an increased minimum wage for all Pennsylvanians. As professional social workers, we believe that full-time, full-year workers earning the minimum wage should not be forced to raise their families in poverty. We ask the General Assembly to increase the minimum wage for all Pennsylvania workers, taking a small step in ensuring the economic justice for all Pennsylvania’s men, women and families.


Mary R. Alleman says...
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Governor Wolf's order doesn't include contracts with the Department of Human Services. I'm surprised the NASW-PA statement doesn't address this, because contracts with the Department of Human Services are most likely to involve people who work in Social Services and include some professional social workers.





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