EMPLOYMENT LAW

In our mission to create a better business climate, the PA Chamber is committed to advancing legislation that encourages employers to locate and expand in the Commonwealth and attract new investment and jobs. This includes ensuring that policies relating to the workforce are fair to both employers and employees, while opposing any efforts to place undue laws and regulatory burdens on the business community that act as a barrier to job growth.

PA Chamber Statement on Gov. Shapiro’s PLA Directive

March 29, 2024 | Michael Plummer

HARRISBURG – Today, PA Chamber Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Alex Halper released the following statement in response to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s recent announcement of a new directive for the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for state projects. PLAs typically require private companies to commit to using unionized labor as a prerequisite to […]

Read More

Bad For Business: State House Advances Trio of Overreaching Proposals

May 08, 2023

Last week, House lawmakers advanced several bills with the potential to significantly impact Pennsylvania employers: H.B. 950 Would amend the state constitution for the stated purpose of prohibiting future lawmakers from enacting “Right to Work” legislation, which guarantees that individuals cannot be forced to join or contribute financially to a union as a condition of […]

Read More

Court Rules in Favor of Biden Administration ‘Large’ Employer Vaccine Rule

December 20, 2021

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the Biden Administration could proceed with its COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirement for employers with 100 or more employees. This proposal, first promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in early November, had been enjoined by an earlier court decision. Plaintiffs have already appealed […]

Read More

PA Chamber Statement on Biden Administration Vaccination and Testing Mandates

September 10, 2021 | Lindsay Andrews

PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to President Biden’s announcement that he is mandating employee vaccination or weekly testing at businesses with 100 or more employees: “The Pennsylvania Chamber will be examining the full scope of these orders, to evaluate their impact on a private sector that has […]

Read More

State & Federal Political Recap

August 02, 2021

Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Advances in Senate After weeks of negotiation, the Senate began consideration of the INVEST in America Act– the bipartisan infrastructure bill.  If passed, the $1T bill  is expected to be followed by additional legislation spending nearly $3.5T on spending priorities favored by progressive Democrat lawmakers, but which is facing opposition from moderate […]

Read More

White House Signs Executive Order Banning Certain Business Practices

July 12, 2021

President Biden on Friday signed a sweeping executive order that could have profound impacts on employers, including policies that target specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications. According to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, the executive order directs more than a dozen federal agencies to pursue 72 initiatives, ranging from […]

Read More

Admin Code Officially Law, Codifies Repeal of Wolf Administration’s Overtime Rule

July 12, 2021

Governor Wolf opted to neither sign nor veto H.B. 336, the Administrative Code bill that is one of four bills accompanying the state budget passed in late June.  Without action by the governor, legislation passing the General Assembly becomes law after 10 days. Among the bill’s key provisions was a one-sentence entry worked out as […]

Read More

Prevailing Wage

The Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act requires the state and local governments to pay workers on most public projects costing over $25,000 a pre-determined wage rate that is often in excess of market rates. This unfunded mandate makes it more expensive and difficult to complete important projects, like school expansions to meet growing student capacity, mitigating environmental hazards, or new health facilities. Prevailing Wage is an unnecessary cost-driver that contributes to higher property taxes on residents and employers.

The detrimental impact of the Prevailing Wage Act on the business community goes beyond higher state and local taxes:

  • Competing for public works projects should be an inclusive process that provides opportunities for smaller contractors who may be inhibited from bidding on public projects due to the inflexible rules and strict requirements.
  • Artificially raising wages distorts the market and can ultimately increase costs on all public and private construction projects and maintenance work within the area, potentially forcing important projects to be delayed, scaled back, scuttled altogether or moved to another state;
  • Arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the rules creates uncertainty and confusion for companies, which risk a three-year disqualification from public work for any violation;
  • Complying with the Prevailing Wage Act precludes flexibility, is an administrative burden, and can be unduly complicated and time-consuming for contractors who must track specific work and tasks performed at any given time by all employees on a job;

The Pennsylvania Chamber supports repealing the Prevailing Wage Act; or, short of full repeal, legislative initiatives or reforms to mitigate the Act’s harmful effects, including:

  • Limiting the application of the Prevailing Wage Act to strictly public projects or projects that are at least a majority financed by direct public funding and exempting private projects or aspects of a project funded through or with support from economic development programs;
  • Increasing the $25,000 threshold that triggers the prevailing wage mandate, which has not been updated in 60 years, and providing for regular increases, to account for inflation and
    ensure the application of the Act is consistent with its original intent, such as not applying to smaller projects and regular repairs and maintenance;
  • Allowing political subdivisions and school districts to opt out of prevailing wage requirements;
  • Modernizing regulations for more flexibility and directing the Secretary to ensure that wage rates are applicable to the size of the available qualified workforce workers within the locality;
  • Ensuring that prevailing wage rates accurately reflect the true market-based prevailing wage rates in a local community; and,
  • Ensuring that any regulations or guidelines that dictate employer compliance with the Prevailing Wage Act are unambiguous; including clear employee definitions and classifications.

Additionally, the PA Chamber opposes Project Labor Agreement requirements and supports principles of open contracting in which public project contract award decisions are not influenced by affiliations with organized labor. This helps ensure that contracts are assessed and awarded based on quality of work, experience, and cost.

Revised by the Policy Committee in June 2023 and approved by the Board of Directors on August 3, 2023