In Pennsylvania, median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $39,905 while median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $50,412.
This means that women in Pennsylvania are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,507. The wage gap is larger for women of color. Among Pennsylvania’s women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, African-American women are paid 68 cents, Latinas are paid 56 cents and Asian women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Pennsylvania women who are employed full time lose a combined total of more than $19 billion every year due to the wage gap.
While gender wage gaps persist across the country, Pennsylvania women are worse off than the national average. American women, on average, will not achieve equal pay until 2058. Pennsylvania women, however, are not on track to earn equal pay until the year 2072. Pay discrimination, penalizing workers for pregnancy, occupational gender segregation, nursing and caretaker responsibilities, wage theft and an inadequate minimum wage all contribute to the gender pay gap.
Current Law Fails to Adequately Address Pay Discrimination
The simplest first step toward closing the gender wage gap is to address pay discrimination by closing the loopholes in the Pennsylvania Equal Pay Act, which is too weak to be effective. Pennsylvania’s equal pay law has not been updated since 1967, when it was amended so that it would apply to fewer people.
Women’s Law Project attorneys have assisted in drafting the necessary corrective legislation, hosted round-tables and panels addressing ways to close gender and racial wage gaps, and testified before both Philadelphia City Council and the Pennsylvania House Labor & Industry Committee on the subject of equal pay. In 2014, in collaboration with Pennsylvania Campaign for Women’s Health, we successfully called for the first public hearings on equal pay held in Pennsylvania in 50 years.
The Women’s Law Project is a proud member of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign.
Women are the majority of Pennsylvania’s minimum wage workers. Increasing the minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage would help close the wage gap.
- A Pennsylvania woman working full time at minimum wage earns just $14,500 annually, almost $4,600 below the official U.S. poverty line for a mother with two children.
- Pennsylvania is in the minority of states nationwide —and one of only two in the Northeast—with a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, the lowest level permitted under federal law; the neighboring state of New York recently passed legislation to phase in a $15.00 minimum wage.
- Pennsylvania’s $2.83 hourly minimum wage for tipped workers is unchanged since 1998 and just 70 cents higher than the federal minimum of $2.13 per hour.
- Although obligated to ensure their tipped employees receive at least the regular minimum wage, many employers fail to do so.3 • Nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s tipped workers are women.
- Nearly one-fifth 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.
Workplace equality, we must address equal pay, eliminate discrimination against pregnant and nursing workers, address pay reductions due to pregnancy and care-giving responsibilities, address occupational segregation, eliminate wage theft and raise the minimum wage to a living wage.