Our economy is still recovering from the recession of 2008, and people everywhere are struggling to pay their bills and provide for themselves and their families. Worst of all, salaries have remained stagnant while the cost of nearly everything continues to be driven up by inflation. For the many workers depending upon full-time minimum wage jobs for their livelihood, the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour simply does not provide a livable wage.
Currently, a Pennsylvania worker who earns minimum wage and works 40 hours a week makes only $15,080, almost $4,500 below the poverty line. In Philadelphia County, it takes more than 134 hours of work at the minimum wage just to pay average rent and utilities alone. As a result, many of these workers are forced to use government assistance programs just to get by.
It is clear that the time has come for an increase in the minimum wage. Legislation is being sponsored in the Pennsylvania House that would increase the minimum to $9 per hour now and then to $10.10 a year later, which would boost the earnings of a full-time minimum-wage worker by over $5,900 a year. The increase would raise many workers and their families above the poverty line and give these workers the opportunity to earn a livable wage. It’s time to support a raise in the minimum wage for the workers of Pennsylvania.