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Pa Tipped Workers Update

Changes just getting underway for how workers who rely on tips can get paid.

The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act updated Friday and focuses on employees such as bartenders or waitresses.

Sydney Rupert is a bartender at The Haven. She said, “it takes a lot to work in this industry. I make hardly anything compared to what I make in tips.”

That’s a feeling heard from many people working in the food service industry.

New regulations will raise the minimum amount of tips they can make before the business can reduce their hourly rate to $2.83 an hour.

State officials say the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act has not had its regulations updated for over four decades.

Bryan Smolock, the director of the borough of labor law compliance shared, “The regulations were necessary for a few reasons. Number 1, they haven’t been touched for some time. It was, it was about time to address something with these tipped employee regulations.”

The new regulations would clarify the eighty – twenty rule, exclude hourly waged employees from tip pools and an overall increased salary per hour based on tips made each month.

Smolock told Channel 6, “The purpose of these regulations is basically to promote clarity and consistency. It addresses a regulation of the fluctuating work week which was necessary and also updates quite frankly 44-year-old definition of tipped employees.”

Officials say the federal regulations that govern tipped workers has changed many times within the last decade.

New regulations came with each new president.

Thomas Foley is the Director of Policy at the Department of Labor and Industry told us, “The Biden Administration, the Trump Administration and the Obama Administration each introduced their own package of regulations affecting tipped workers. Who is eligible for tip pooling, whos excluded? So, we wanted to introduce a specific Pennsylvania regulation that provided consistency and clarity for Pennsylvania employers and Pennsylvania tipped employees.”

States like Washington and Minnesota share one fair wage for workers whether they earn tips or not.

Foley added, “In Pennsylvania a tipped worker can make as much as $2.83 per hour before tips.”

Local tipped employees say they feel more secure with the updates made to the Pennsylvania Wage Act.

Jenny Durica is a barista at The Morning Grind and said, “It definitely helps with gas prices and everything with college, saving up, groceries and everything.”

Officials from Bureau of Labor and Industry share since the update to the act was made only three days ago they understand there might be some questions and the Labor and Industry Field Office is available to call with any concerns.

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