California healthcare minimum wage bill advances to Senate committee stage

The controversial Californian bill aimed at increasing the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 an hour is about to go through the Senate committee stage, according to an April 10 The Business Journal report.

Introduced by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo in February, supporters argue such a law would attract and retain healthcare workers, while opponents say resulting increased costs are the last thing California hospitals need in a high-inflation environment. Some cash-strapped hospitals risk closure with such an additional financial obligation, they say.

"Enacting such legislation would only accelerate the demise of the California hospital industry," Gary Herbst, CEO of Visalia-based Kaweah Health, told The Business Journal

Not every trade union is on board with the bill either. The California Nursing Association/National Nurses United argues most nurses already earn more than $25 an hour and this would incentivize health systems to lower wages.

The bill, in its current form, applies not only to clinical workers but also to janitorial staff, security guards and food service workers, among others, the report said.

The bill is scheduled to go before the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee on April 12.

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