FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 13, 2023
CALIFORNIA — Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 525, a historic new law that will provide fair pay to over 400,000 California healthcare workers. The bill establishes the first statewide healthcare-specific minimum wage with a path to $25 per hour minimum wage in the country. Staff in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, dialysis clinics, and community clinics will receive the pay increase.
“This is a historic achievement for frontline healthcare workers,” said Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW. “SB525 is the culmination of years of California healthcare workers calling out for support to address the healthcare worker shortage and patient care crisis. Thanks to hard work and tremendous sacrifice, we together have accomplished something few thought possible. Thanks to the Governor, bill author Senator Maria Elena Durazo, the California Legislature, and every California healthcare worker who fought for this to ensure patients will have enough caregivers to get the care they need.”
SB 525 is a critical step in fixing California’s healthcare worker staffing crisis. According to a 2022 survey of healthcare workers, 83% say their department is understaffed. Raising the minimum wage for healthcare workers will help hospital systems retain existing staff and attract new workers to the healthcare workforce.
“Many of my co-workers and I are struggling to make ends meet, and some are leaving for jobs that offer higher pay with fewer health risks,” said Alice Isip, a patient care technician at Fresenius Kidney Care Gateway Dialysis Center in San Diego. “I have personally seen how short-staffing hurts patient care. A $25 minimum wage will keep healthcare workers in their jobs, help recruit new ones to our healthcare system, and improve the quality of care our patients receive.”
The bill covers all healthcare workers who provide services that directly or indirectly support patient care. This includes clinicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, aides, technicians, maintenance workers, janitorial or housekeeping staff, groundskeepers, guards, food service workers, laundry workers, and pharmacists, but does not include managers or supervisors.
There are four groupings of healthcare facilities, each with their own timeline for reaching the $25 minimum wage:
Union healthcare workers have successfully led efforts to pass a healthcare minimum wage in five California cities in the past year. They then took their campaign statewide and called on the state legislature to pass SB 525 to set a minimum wage for healthcare workers across the state.
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and healthcare activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected healthcare workers. Learn more at www.seiu-uhw.org.