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$25 Minimum Wage Bill for Healthcare Workers Approved by California Senate

A $25 minimum wage bill for healthcare workers. (Photo: HRD America)
A $25 minimum wage bill for healthcare workers. (Photo: HRD America)

In a move that has stirred both support and opposition, the California Senate has approved a bill that would establish a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers.

A $25 minimum wage bill for healthcare workers was passed on Wednesday in the California Senate. (Photo: HRD America)

A $25 minimum wage bill for healthcare workers was passed on Wednesday in the California Senate. (Photo: HRD America)

$25 Minimum Wage Bill

The $25 minimum wage partisan bill, championed by Senator Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles and backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), passed with a 21-11 vote, with no support from Republicans, Center Square California reported.

If this $25 minimum wage bill becomes law, it will result in a wage increase for various healthcare workers across the state.

The $25 minimum wage will apply to all paid work performed on the premises of any covered healthcare facility, regardless of the employer.

Employees at general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, medical offices and clinics, behavioral health centers, dialysis clinics, and residential care centers, as well as certified nursing assistants, patient aides, technicians, and food service workers, among others, will all benefit from the proposed wage hike.

Initially, the $25 minimum wage will be implemented gradually starting on June 1, 2024. This means the minimum wage for healthcare workers would increase to $21 per hour for one year, with a subsequent increase to $25 per hour if the bill is passed in the assembly.

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$25 Minimum Wage Bill: Supporters and Critics

Critics of the $25 minimum wage bill, such as the California Hospital Association, argue that this top-down wage increase fails to consider the current economics of healthcare and the unique circumstances faced by healthcare providers in diverse communities throughout the large state of California.

They contend that SB 525 will lead to reduced access to medical services, increased healthcare costs, and fewer employment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

A report by UC Berkeley’s Labor Center estimates that implementing a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers would raise operational costs at healthcare facilities by approximately 3%. This wage increase would translate to a wage boost of about $5.74 per eligible healthcare worker.

Despite the opposition, the bill has garnered massive support from unions, particularly the SEIU, which represents 2 million members in healthcare, the public sector, and property services across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Union members recently rallied at the state Capitol and the headquarters of the California Hospital Association and California Primary Care Association to demand a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers.

According to a study by the California Hospital Association, the healthcare system’s total annual cost is projected to increase by about $8 billion by 2024, rising to $11.3 billion by 2030, due to the implementation of the bill.

Amidst the ongoing debate, healthcare workers have expressed their support for the $25 minimum wage bill.

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