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California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has approved a new bill elevating the minimum wage for healthcare workers.

The recent legislation, Senate Bill 525, seeks to address the pay for healthcare professionals, particularly during the staffing crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. Upon the bill’s signing, Tia Orr, executive director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California, commented, “Californians saw the courage and commitment of healthcare workers during the pandemic… a historic investment in the workers who make our healthcare system strong and accessible for all.” Previously, California mandated a minimum wage of $15 per hour across all sectors beginning in 2022. The new bill outlines five distinct wage hikes, contingent on employer type.

Introduced by State Sen. María Elena Durazo, this legislation will uplift wages for approximately 455,000 workers. According to Durazo, three-quarters of these beneficiaries are female, and 76% are individuals of color. Those “provid[ing] services directly or indirectly support patient care” will be impacted by these wage alterations, encompassing roles such as medical assistants, aides, technicians, and janitorial staff.

This legislative move comes after nationwide strikes from over 75,000 healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente, protesting understaffing issues.


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