For-profit businesses that receive assistance through the Department of Community and Economic Development will have to offer paid sick leave under an executive order signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday.
The order is an addition to a previous executive order by Gov. Wolf that ordered the department to require a minimum wage equal to the state’s minimum wage for government employees.
It is an effort by the Wolf Administration to tackle the state’s labor shortage and support Pennsylvania workers, Wolf said in a press release.
“With our economy on the comeback, there are so many job openings that people can select the option that is best for their family,” he said. “This is a critical moment for Pennsylvania workers, and it’s time we stop asking why there is a labor shortage and start asking how we can make jobs better. With Pennsylvanians renowned for our work ethic, this is an opportunity to improve jobs in the state, which will attract and retain hardworking people to live here and bring new industries to the commonwealth that want a talented, skilled and dedicated workforce.”
Along with directing DCED to enforce paid employee sick leave and continue its minimum wage requirements, the order also asks agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction to review existing programs and program guidelines and consider imposing a minimum-wage requirement for their applicants for state funding.
The minimum wage for state workers is $13.50 and is set to hit $15 by July 1, 2024, which was part of an executive order signed by Wolf in 2018.
The order goes on to direct the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and the Office of Administration to do a feasibility study of implementing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards throughout state offices.
All state agencies are required to review and develop processes that ensure that businesses receiving grants are in compliance with Pennsylvania state labor and workforce safety laws.
“After COVID-19 exposed our workforce to a new set of dangers, it’s all the more important that we update statewide worker protections,” said Sen. Jay Costa. D-Allegheny County during a press conference on Thursday. “In so many industries, they were on the frontlines of COVID exposure without the equipment they needed to keep themselves safe, or the time off to heal if they got sick, let alone paid time off to care for sick loved ones. I’m here today in lockstep with the Governor’s commitment to this issue so that our workforce can thrive here in the Commonwealth.”
Organizations that have violated labor laws, misclassified their workers, owe unemployment compensation back taxes or fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance will be included in a publicly available list through the Department of Labor & Industry, according to the order.