California proposes $25/hour minimum wage for healthcare workers

A proposed bill in California would require a healthcare worker minimum wage of $25 per hour.

State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo introduced the bill Feb. 14 to require hospitals and other healthcare facilities to raise pay for these workers, including certified nursing assistants, patient aides, technicians and food service workers. The new minimum wage would start Jan. 1, 2024. California's current minimum wage is $15.50 per hour.

Raising the pay for these healthcare workers is meant to help account for inflation, Ms. Durazo said, according to Kaiser Health News

"How do people survive?" she told the publication ahead of the bill's introduction. "They can't be on the edge of becoming homeless. That's what we're facing."

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West has pushed for measures in California cities establishing a $25 minimum hourly wage for workers at private healthcare facilities. The union has said raising the minimum wage would help address workforce challenges.

The California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems — which is affiliated with the California Hospital Association and has sponsored campaigns against the measures — has called such ordinances "deeply flawed" and "inequitable," saying they exclude many healthcare workers. Some health systems have also argued a minimum wage increase would raise costs.

In November, a measure to establish a $25 minimum hourly wage for workers at private healthcare facilities passed in Inglewood, and one was rejected in Duarte.

At the state level, lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom must still sign off on the bill for it to take effect. 

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