Lawmakers in the California Senate have moved forward with a bill that proposes raising the minimum wage for health workers to $25 per hour. With a narrow majority of 21 votes, the bill now awaits approval from the California State Assembly.
Sponsored by Senator Maria Elena Durazo and backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the legislation would require all covered healthcare facilities to pay the new minimum wage to all workers on their premises, irrespective of their employer.
This minimum-wage increase applies not only to nurses and caregivers, but also to other personnel within healthcare facilities, such as janitors, kitchen staff, cleaning personnel, and even gift shop employees. Senator Durazo emphasized that the bill aims to elevate the role of these workers who provide crucial services, although it does not address all the challenges in the health care system.
During the initial vote, the proposed California minimum wage for health workers bill fell three votes short, with concerns raised by both Republicans and Democrats about the financial impact on already struggling hospitals. Some legislators worried that the bill might force healthcare facilities to close or leave the state. The California Hospital Association voiced opposition to the bill, citing the economic realities of health care and the risk of further hospital closures.
A cost analysis conducted by a coalition against the bill estimated a significant increase in labor costs, amounting to $8 billion statewide in 2024 and exceeding $11 billion by 2030.
While the bill did not receive any Republican votes, the SEIU union expressed satisfaction with its progress. Healthcare workers, like Mirell Vong from Mercy Hospital of Folsom, highlighted the challenges they face, including exhaustion, burnout, and inadequate staffing.
If you believe your rights as an employee have been violated or require legal assistance regarding wage laws, don’t hesitate to reach out to Labor Law Advocates. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing guidance and support to individuals facing workplace issues. Contact Labor Law Advocates today to take the necessary steps toward resolving your employment concerns.