Like ordering a cheesesteak with Swiss, employee-friendly OT rules just aren’t meant to be in PA

Let’s face it. Unlike its neighbor, New Jersey, a/k/a the California of the East, not many would label the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania an employee-friendly state.

There’s no state-level FMLA, the whistleblower law is basically limited to public sector employers, and the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws essentially mimic federal law.

For wage and hour purposes, the minimum wage is $7.25, and like the Fair Labor Standards Act, the salary-level threshold for an overtime exemption is currently $684 a week, or $35,568 a year.

But then, back in October, something changed. Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry announced a new overtime rule by increasing the minimum salary threshold for an overtime exemption to $45,500 in three phased steps:

  • $684 per week, $35,568 annually (per federal rule), on January 1, 2020;
  • $780 per week, $40,560 annually on October 3, 2021; and
  • $875 per week, $45,500 annually on October 3, 2022.

Starting in 2023, the salary threshold would adjust automatically every three years.

OMG! A new overtime rule. What’s next? Ordering cheesesteaks “with Swiss.”

F*ck no! Alas, some things just aren’t meant to be. And just as John Kerry’s presidential hopes vanished shortly after committing the ultimate Philadelphia foodie faux pas, the idealistic new overtime rules are now DOA too.

The Allentown Morning Call (here) and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce (here) have reported that a final budget deal between the Republican-majority legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf includes an agreement to repeal the overtime rules addressed above.

So, come October 3, 2021, the minimum salary threshold will not jump to $780 per week. Heck, under Commonwealth law, it won’t even stay at $684 per week. It will roll back to $455 a week, or $23,660 a year. (Although federal law still requires a minimum weekly salary of $684 per week.)

And cosmic balance is restored.

Pennsylvania is kinda like the Texas of the East. Except without the Cowboys, which is plenty fine by us.


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