Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge Holds That “Workweek Standard” Applies to Minimum Wage Analysis Under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act

I recently read an interesting (and, I think, important) decision in which Middle District of Pennsylvania Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie reasoned that a “workweek standard” must be applied in determining whether a company violated the minimum wage provisions of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”), 43 P.S. sec. 333.101, et seq., by failing to pay workers for all hours worked. In Masterson v. Federal Express Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99622 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 10, 2008), the workers claimed that the company did not pay them for all hours worked and they sought the minimum wage of $7.15 for every unpaid hour. After analyzing the PMWA, Judge Vanaskie held that an employer does not violate the PMWA’s minimum wage provision so long as the employee’s weekly pay divided by all hours worked (including the unpaid hours) exceeds the $7.15 minimum wage. In applying this method, the court utilized what is known as the “workweek standard” and rejected the view that every hour stands alone under the PMWA’s minimum wage provision. This case has important implications for “off-the-clock” cases in which the workers do not work in excess of 40 hours per week. Of course, once the work hours cross the 40-hour threshold, the PMWA’s overtime pay provisions kick in, and the workers’ damages will flow from their “regular rate” of pay. So Masterson has no bearing on overtime cases.
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