During the last week of the legislative session in California, both houses of the legislature approved SB 525 (Durazo), a bill that would raise the hourly minimum wage for workers at health care facilities, as defined, to $23 next year, $24 in 2025, and $25 in 2026.
Under the bill, the phased-in minimum wage hike would cover all employees of covered health care facilities, including cleaning and maintenance staff, food service workers, gift shop workers, medical coders, and nursing assistants – although not all would see an immediate raise.
Thanks to aggressive advocacy by HCAOA and its Sacramento-based lobbyists Tony Gonzalez and Carl London, SB 525 was completely rewritten and ensured that Home Care Organizations are not subject to the requirements of SB 525. Its definitions are tighter, resulting in clearer definitions of “covered health care facility employer” and “integrated health care delivery system” that together provide that only a [large] covered health care facility employer, covered health care facility employer that is part of an integrated health care delivery system or health care system with 10,000 or more FTE employees, a dialysis clinic, or a covered health care facility owned or operated by a [large] county shall be required to pay the $25 minimum wage.
Senator Durazo’s bill originally called for the wage hike to go into effect across the industry on January 1, 2024, and be adjusted annually for inflation. California’s minimum wage is currently $15.50, although it is higher in some cities and counties.
SB 525 is now on the desk of California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has until midnight of October 14 to sign or veto the bill.