By Betty Lin-Fisher
Oct 3, 2019 @ 4:32 PM
One of the region’s largest employers is giving its lowest-paid workers a pay boost next month.
Akron Children’s Hospital is raising the minimum wage for its employees to $15 an hour.
Current Ohio minimum wage is $8.55 and is set to increase on Jan. 1 to $8.70. The hospital currently pays a minimum wage of $10.15, according to Rhonda Larimore, Children’s chief human resources officer.
The change at Children’s is effective Nov. 24 for current employees. The increase also applies to all future hires at the independent children’s hospital, which has campuses in Akron and Boardman and primary and specialty care offices throughout the region.
“Our reason for doing this is, quite simply, it is the right thing to do,” said Grace Wakulchik, president and CEO of the hospital. “While we regularly analyze salaries to ensure our compensation is competitive in our region, we recognize our employees see the work they do here as much more than a job. This is an important step in acknowledging how much we appreciate all they do to support the work of Akron Children’s Hospital.”
The hospital said it also is making it a priority to maintain equity for employees who are currently making $15 or slightly more. Pay adjustments for many of these employees will be made in the weeks ahead.
About 25 percent of Akron Children’s 6,350 employees will see bigger paychecks as a result of the increase. The employees work throughout the hospital in food service and environmental services and as medical assistants, secretaries, schedulers, community health workers, home health aides, patient service representatives and dispatchers.
Nationwide, there has been a push to raise the minimum wage to $15, including in the medical industry.
On Wednesday, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center announced it would be raising its minimum wage from $11 to $15, effective Jan. 5, 2020.
The Cleveland Clinic, which owns Akron General, also announced in December it is raising the minimum wage for its employees to $15 by 2020. In January, the hourly rate for about 1,900 workers increased to $14 per hour. Those entry-level positions include environmental service workers and patient care nursing assistants, among others.
“Increasing our minimum wage demonstrates our commitment to our employees and their families, as well as the community and our patients. It is a reflection of who we want to be as an organization,” Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic president and chief executive, said when the change was announced.
Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher