A bill that would create a new California healthcare workers minimum wage has been introduced, part of a growing trend in the state.
Several jurisdictions in California last year proposed similar laws, with mixed success. Some faced challenges, while others were put before voters instead.
In November 2022, the California cities of Duarte and Inglewood asked voters to decide on minimum wage for healthcare workers. Duarte voters rejected the measure, but Inglewood voters approved theirs, and the law there goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
However, those jurisdictions’ proposals did have one thing in common — a $25 minimum wage for nearly all employees who work at privately owned healthcare facilities. And that number is also what the California healthcare workers minimum wage bill calls for.
Minimum Wage Management. Simplified.
California Healthcare Workers Minimum Wage
A senate version of the California healthcare workers minimum wage bill would apply to a bevy of employers in that industry, including:
- An integrated health care delivery system
- A licensed general acute care hospital
- A licensed acute psychiatric hospital
- A licensed skilled nursing facility
- A patient’s home when health care services are delivered by an entity owned or operated by a general acute care hospital or acute psychiatric hospital
- A licensed home health agency
- Most clinics
- A licensed residential care facility for the elderly
- An urgent care clinic
- A physician group
- County correctional and mental health facilities
Likewise, nearly all types of employees at these facilities would be covered by a California healthcare workers minimum wage. The $25 rate would apply to jobs such as guards and groundskeepers, as well as clerical workers, janitors, nurses and caregivers — even those working in gift shops.
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The senate bill also includes a provision for salaried employees, who would have to earn at least twice the $25 minimum wage for full-time employment in order to qualify as exempt from the payment of minimum wage and overtime.
The bill was last amended in the Senate in mid-April 2023. It went into another committee earlier this week.
And while it hasn’t been passed into law as of this writing, in a state like California, it could simply be a matter of time.
How Many States Have a $15 Minimum Wage?
Minimum Wage Rate Management
The recent trend of a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers in California highlights the growing challenges of rate management for employers. Some jurisdictions in the state already have industry-specific rates for other types of employees, notably hotel workers, and should the law pass it would create another layer of complexity.
Meanwhile, with little minimum wage activity at the federal level (it hasn’t increased since 2009), more jurisdictions are passing new laws. In fact, there are more than 110 jurisdictions with their own minimum wage law.
That number will likely continue to grow. But the spate of new laws passed in recent years has created other challenges, including:
- The move from scheduled increases to indexed rates
- New laws on top of existing ones, as was the case recently with Maryland minimum wage
- Activists pushing for $20 rates (an update from the Fight for $15)
- Rates for employers of different sizes or revenue levels
All this adds to the complex matrix of minimum wage rate management for employers with locations across the U.S.
Fight for $20: The New Minimum Wage Push
Private healthcare employers in California should keep an eye on the potential for a state law, as well as other local-level ordinances that may be in play.
Last summer, several cities introduced a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers, including:
- Baldwin Park
- Culver City
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Monterey Park
While not all of them have gone into effect, the situation for healthcare employers in California bears monitoring moving forward.