State laws for wage and breaks

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2021 | Employment law

The state of Pennsylvania has laws for employers regarding the minimum hourly wage they must pay their employees. It also outlines certain breaks the employer must allow.

Workers should understand what the laws are so that they know if they are receiving what the law guarantees.

Meal periods and breaks

According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the state only requires 30 minute breaks for employees between the ages of 13 and 18 who work for five or more hours in a row. Rest and meal breaks for employees 18 and older are at the discretion of employers. If allowed, and are less than 20 minutes, an employer must pay for a rest break. For meals, if it is longer than 20 minutes and the employee is not performing work during the break, the employer does not pay for that time.

Minimum wage and overtime pay

The minimum hourly wage in the state is $7.25. As long as it meets or exceeds the minimum wage, an employer can change a worker’s hourly rate at any time, as long as the employer informs the employee ahead of time.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, hourly employees who work more than 40 hours a week are due overtime pay, which is 150% of their regular hourly wage, and there is no limit as to the number of overtime hours a person can work.

In regard to holiday pay, vacation pay and sick leave, there is no state law that requires employers to pay workers unless the employer decides to have a policy to pay for these breaks. If an employee works on a holiday, he or she will receive the regular hourly wage, unless there is a company policy to pay extra for holidays.