Women’s Law Project Managing Attorney Terry L. Fromson recently met with Pennsylvania Senator Rob Teplitz to discuss the disproportionate impact of Pennsylvania’s low minimum wage on women workers.
“In Pennsylvania, the minimum wage workforce is three-quarters women,” says Terry L. Fromson, managing attorney of Women’s Law Project. “They are living on $7.25 an hour, the lowest possible minimum wage in the country. A mother in Pennsylvania with two women is living on poverty wages. Her take-home pay is less than the U.S. poverty threshold.”
Fromson met with Senator Teplitz as part of the “10 Days for $10.10” Campaign. Last year, Fromson testified about the importance of raising the minimum wage before the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee.
In addition to being the majority of workers earning minimum wage, women are also nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s tipped workers. Pennsylvania’s minimum tipped wage is $2.83 per hour, a rate unchanged since 1998. It’s little wonder that 18 percent of Pennsylvania’s female tipped workers live in poverty, more than double the rate for working women overall. Almost one-quarter of female servers and bartenders in Pennsylvania live in poverty.
There’s another reason to be concerned about low tipped minimum wage: women working for tips may be more vulnerable to sexual harassment. A recent study from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United found that female tipped workers in states with a $2.13 tipped minimum wage are more likely to experience sexual harassment than their counterparts in states where employers are required to pay the regular minimum wage before tips.
As founding members of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, the Women’s Law Project supports three minimum wage bills currently under consideration by the Pennsylvania Legislature: Senator Tartaglione’s SB 195 and SB 196, and Representative Patty Kim’s HB 250.
Click here to learn more about the Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, a statewide group of organizations advocating for evidence-based policy solutions to real problems faced by Pennsylvania women.
A rally advocating for Pennsylvania to raise the minimum wage will be held on the front steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg this Thursday, July 2, at 11AM. Find out more about the rally here.