The minimum wage for nursing homes, assisted living and other healthcare workers in California will increase to $25 due to legislation signed into law Friday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D).
The pay increase could affect more than 400,000 Californians, CalMatters reported. Seventy-five percent of the employees who would see a wage increase are women, and 76% of those eligible are people of color, according to a report by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center.
The legislation, first introduced by state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), raises the state’s hourly minimum wage for healthcare workers from its current $15.50.
The increase will be incremental. The minimum wage for covered healthcare workers will be $23 per hour from June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025; $24 per hour from June 1, 2025, to May 31, 2026; and $25 per hour from June 1, 2026.
The California Assisted Living Association, the California Association of Health Facilities, LeadingAge California and the California Chamber of Commerce opposed the wage increase. They called the increase “astronomical” and said it would result in labor costs that are not sustainable. The organizations argued that the legislation ultimately would reduce access to healthcare services and increase costs for businesses and residents.
Not surprisingly, however, the Service Employees International Union California supported the wage increase. According to the union, the increased minimum wage also would benefit support workers, including janitors, housekeepers, groundskeepers, business office staff members, food service employees and laundry workers.
“Californians saw the courage and commitment of healthcare workers during the pandemic, and now that same fearlessness and commitment to patients is responsible for a historic investment in the workers who make our healthcare system strong and accessible for all,” Tia Orr, executive director of SEIU California, said in a statement.