A Look Ahead for the Week of May 6, 2024

House and Senate lawmakers are in Harrisburg this week and, as always, the PA Chamber is currently monitoring several pieces of legislation with the potential to impact the state’s business community.

Equal Pay Law Weaponization (H.B. 98)

House Bill 98 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would make drastic changes to Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay law, adding new vague standards, essentially gutting the exceptions section of the law and making it nearly impossible for an employer to defend against a legal action brought under this Act. The bill would also restrict the type of questions employers may ask job applicants related to wages, significantly increase penalties, create new causes of action, extend the statute of limitations from two to three years, and allow for uncapped punitive damages.

Federal and state laws require employers to pay women and men equally for equal work.  The law has also always recognized pay disparities often do exist for reasons that have nothing to do with discrimination and therefore provides several exceptions. This law guts these exceptions, putting the burden on employers to demonstrate that discrimination was not a factor and setting an impossibly high bar to do so. This legislation will expose honest, law-abiding employers to lawsuits and severe penalties, which may particularly harm small businesses.

Workers’ Compensation Expansion (H.B. 1632)

House Bill 1632 may receive a vote on the House Floor this week.

This legislation would dramatically expand eligibility for workers’ compensation disability benefits for various categories of employees diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Under current law, mental health conditions are generally compensable for workers’ compensation medical and wage-loss benefits if they are related to a physical injury or the result of an incident outside of the normal scope of employment. Otherwise, mental healthcare costs are generally covered by regular health insurance. This legislation – which is intended to cover emergency response personnel, but may be interpreted to include certain private sector employees as well – would trigger eligibility for workers’ compensation without safeguards to avoid misuse, which could increase costs significantly and incentivize plaintiffs’ attorneys to file unwarranted claims.

Healthcare Workplace Bill

House Bill 2247 is expected to receive a vote in the House Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation proposes a comprehensive framework to regulate workplace violence prevention in healthcare facilities.

The bill includes policies focused on training, reporting, establishing internal committees, risk assessment, among other areas.  In many cases, the mandates in the bill may be duplicative with internal policies and procedures already maintained by healthcare employers.  The PA Chamber appreciates and agrees with the intent of this bill but is urging lawmakers to engage with impacted employers and work cooperatively to develop legislation that is effective and workable.

Electronic Payment of Wages (S.B. 1026)

Senate Bill 1026 is expected to receive a vote in the Senate Labor & Industry Committee this week.

This legislation would permit employers to pay all wages by electronic means.

Employers in Pennsylvania are currently allowed to pay employees through payroll or direct deposit. And while the vast majority of employees agree to and prefer electronic payment, an employer is required to accommodate a request for a paper check if even a single employee requests it.  This creates administrative challenges and inefficiencies for employers who must maintain systems and processes to prepare for and accommodate these requests.



Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.