Here's everything you need to know about the right-to-work law, at-will employment and these mean in Pennsylvania.
The right-to-work law, which is also known as the Workplace Freedom or Workplace Choice law, is a law that grants workers the right to choose whether or not they'd like to join a union in their workplace. Likewise, it also makes it optional for workers already in unionized workplaces to pay union dues and other membership fees that are required for union representation (whether they're involved in the union or not).
Every state with the exception of Montana is an at-will employment state. Under the at-will employment policy, either the employer or the employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason (unless it's illegal and proven wrongful termination, which is hard to do) without consequence — unless the employee has a contract or a union agreement that states otherwise.
Pennsylvania is not a right-to-work state.
"Pennsylvania recognizes and will enforce union contracts calling for union shops (in which new hires must join the union within some specified period of time) and similar union security agreements," according to Business and Labor Resources.
Pennsylvania is an at-will state, which means that you can be fired for any just reason at any time. Proving wrongful termination isn't always an easy feat, but your employer can only fire you for legal reasons.
Here are three important labor laws in Pennsylvania of which you should be aware.
"Pennsylvania has adopted several provisions, known as the Labor Relations Act, to supplement the federal guarantees," according to Business and Labor Resources. "This Act extends to workers not covered by the federal law the right to organize and bargain collectively. It also sets strict criteria for the conduct of union activities. The Act does not cover hospitals, charitable institutions, and nonprofit social clubs. In addition, the Act does not protect the rights of individuals working for their parent or spouse, agricultural laborers and domestic workers. Except for public utility employees and certain workers in the public sector, all Pennsylvania employees have the right to strike."
Pennsylvania labor laws do indeed require employers to pay employees for overtime, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay — that's for all hours worked beyond the typical 40 hours in a workweek.
The Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, Act 112 of 2006 (Act) states that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, effective as of July 24, 2009.
"The minimum wage credit for tipped employees will remain at $2.83 per hour," according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. "However, an employer will have to make up the difference if the employee’s tips and the $2.83 per hour do not meet the full Pennsylvania minimum wage listed in FAQ 1. The tip credit applies only if an employee received more than $30 in tips during a month. If an employee does not receive more than $30 per month in tips, the employer must pay the regular minimum wage."
That all said, the following exclusions remain:
To learn more about employment laws in Pennsylvania, check out these resources:
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.