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Advocate Aurora Health to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

The decision by the health system based in Wisconsin and Illinois follows that of Amazon to raise its minimum wage.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Advocate Aurora Health is gradually increasing its minimum wage, going to $13 an hour in mid-2019, $14 an hour in 2020 and $15 an hour by early 2021.

The health system made the move to be market competitive and to retain top talent, it said.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Advocate Aurora Health said it saw the increase as a needed critical investment, even as it faces shrinking reimbursements and soaring pharmaceutical costs.

The United States has the lowest jobless rate since 1969, at 3.7 percent. Hiring and retaining staff requires offering more than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which was set in 2009.

As one of the largest not-for-profit employers in Illinois and Wisconsin, the decision by Advocate Aurora Health sets a bar for providers and other employers in both states.

Illinois has a minimum wage of $8.25 an hour and Wisconsin, $7.25 an hour.

THE TREND

The move follows that of Amazon, which in October announced that  starting November 1, it would set its minimum wage rate to $15 an hour for all U.S. employees. This includes an estimated 250,000 employees as well as over 100,000 seasonal workers.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the company's public policy team would begin advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Amazon had been criticized for paying a median salary of about $28,446 a year.

WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

Advocate Aurora Health's compensation and benefits also includes education assistance, a retirement savings program, discounted medical and drug coverage and career advancement initiatives.

ON THE RECORD

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, said at the time of the company's $15 an hour standard. "We're excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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