Filing a Wage and Hour Claim in Pennsylvania

November 5, 2021

Filing a Wage and Hour Claim in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania law, non-state employees are entitled to an hourly minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In addition, non-exempt employees are also entitled to overtime pay equal to one and a half times their regular rate of pay for any hours over 40 hours that are worked in any seven-day workweek. Tips received by an employee may be credited against minimum wage, but may not make up more than 40 percent of the employee’s wage. Employers may also credit the cost of lodging or food if they are customarily provided to the employer’s workers.

If you are covered by Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and/or overtime laws but you are not paid accordingly under those laws, you may be entitled to pursue a wage and hour claim to recover that compensation.

Who Is Covered by Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage and Overtime Laws?

By default, most workers are covered by Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and overtime regulations. However, certain professions are not subject to overtime requirements, or to both overtime and minimum wage rules. Examples of workers not subject to overtime pay requirements include:

  • Salespersons or mechanics selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, farm vehicle equipment, or aircraft
  • Taxi drivers
  • Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of TV or radio stations
  • Truck drivers
  • Movie theater employees

Categories of professions that are exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime rules in Pennsylvania include:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Domestic workers employed in the private home of their employer (e.g. au pair/nanny, maid/butler, etc.)
  • Employees of any newspaper with a circulation of less than 4,000
  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees
  • Primary and secondary school teachers and administrators
  • Outside sales persons
  • Seasonal employees under 18 (or under 24 if engaged in a program of higher education) employed by nonprofit health or welfare agencies for children, or nonprofit recreational camps that operate less than three months a year
  • Employees of amusement or recreational parks that operate no more than seven months per year
  • Golf caddies
  • Switchboard operators
  • Non-civil service employees of elected officials
  • Elected officials

How Are Wage and Hour Claims Filed in Pennsylvania?

If you believe you have not been paid the wages you believe you are owed under minimum wage and overtime rules, you can file a wage claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Wage and Industry. The department will investigate your claim and if it determines that your claim is valid, it can contact your employer for you and assess the back wages you are owed. If necessary, the department can file suit on your behalf to collect your back wages. Under Pennsylvania law, if your employer fails to pay back wages within 60 days of your wage and hour claim being confirmed by the department, you may be entitled to an additional award of 25 percent of the back wages you are owed. 

Alternatively, you may choose to file a wage and hour lawsuit in court directly against your employer. However, bear in mind the statute of limitations under Pennsylvania law for wage and hour claims. You typically have only three years from the date that the unpaid wages were supposed to be paid.

Contact a Pittsburgh Employment Law and Overtime Lawyer to Discuss Your Pennsylvania Wage and Hour Case

Although Pennsylvania and federal labor laws are supposed to provide you with protection for your rights at work, it is not always easy to get the compensation, rights, and other benefits you deserve. That is why you should speak with a knowledgeable labor lawyer about your situation and get guidance throughout the claims process. The experienced labor attorneys at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. represent clients in Pittsburgh and the surrounding Western PA counties. Call (412) 766-1455 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a consultation about your wage and hour violation case. Our main office is located at 3634 California Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Home visits can be arranged in certain situations. 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.