Hospital Sisters Health System raises minimum wage to $15 an hour for employees statewide

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Thousands of Hospital Sisters Health System employees in Illinois and Wisconsin are getting a raise.

Among the largest employers in Springfield, the operator of HSHS St. John’s Hospital announced Friday it will increase its companywide minimum wage to $15 an hour. HSHS President and CEO Damond Boatwright said the raise was partly motivated by keeping the company competitive in the job market.

"As a Catholic organization, we fundamentally believe in the unique intrinsic worth and value of all human beings," Boatwright said. "And in order for each human being to reach their full potential, we believe in paying a just and fair compensation and wage when you can do that."

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Between the two states HSHS operates in, about 1,500 employees were making less than $15 an hour. Correlated salary increases for nearly the rest of the company’s 13,000 employees will begin Oct. 31, according to HSHS.

Boatwright said he began exploring the possibility of a wage increase shortly after he became HSHS’ president and CEO in the summer. In totality, he said it’s a $6 to $10 million investment to increase the company’s minimum wage.

"It became obvious to me very early on in my tenure (during) this pandemic, going on its fourth surge, a lot of individuals were going through a lot of things emotionally, physically and financially," Boatwright said.

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HSHS hospitals include St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, Holy Family Hospital in Greenville, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon and Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville in addition to HSHS St. John’s and 183 health clinics in Illinois.

Boatwright said the wage increase well have an especially large impact on its hospitals in relatively rural areas, where wages tend to be lower than in urban areas.

Memorial Health, another hospital system serving Springfield and central Illinois, announced in September its plans to increase its companywide minimum wage to $15 an hour. Memorial Health communications manager Angie Muhs said Friday the hospital system is in the process of to finalizing its wage increases.

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Boatwright, when asked if Memorial Health’s wage increase influenced HSHS’ decision to increase its minimum wage, said he wasn’t aware the hospital system had announced its wage increase but that he was glad to hear of its plans to do so.

HSHS’ wage increase to $15 an hour primarily affects entry level positions. Illinois’ minimum wage is $11 an hour and will incrementally increase to $15 an hour by 2025.

Contact Riley Eubanks: reubanks@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@rileyeubanks

via The State Journal-Register

October 18, 2021 at 06:58AM

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