As Illinois Minimum Wage Hike Becomes Law, OSF Healthcare Raises Minimum For Its Own Workers

Sign for OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center.

Sign for OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, one of eleven OSF hospitals in Illinois covered by the healthcare operator's new minimum wage.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

OSF Healthcare is raising the minimum wage it pays its Illinois employees, just as legislation raising the minimum wage in Illinois is becoming law.

Peoria-based OSF Healthcare says it’s increasing what its pays its 1,142 lowest-paid workers from $10 an hour to $12 at its hospitals and other healthcare facilities in downstate Illinois. Both the old and new minimum pay levels are above the current state-mandated minimum wage of $8.25 an hour.  

Meanwhile, legislation signed by Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday will raise the minimum wage required of employers in the state to OSF Healthcare’s $12 level in 2022, and to $15 in 2025.

Chief Operating Officer Mike Cruz says the Franciscan sisters who run the Catholic hospital and healthcare chain made the decision with an eye on how their values affect their nearly 21,000 employees, who they call mission partners.

“Two of the values that have been around for OSF Healthcare System are specific to justice and mission partner well-being,” said Cruz. “And that’s fair pay, by market, by merit.”

Cruz says raising their minimum wage also helps OSF compete for workers in a wide range of non-medical positions.

“We have housekeeping, cafeteria services, transport services,” said Cruz. “People that work in acquisitions and deliveries, supplies. So it really has a really broad effect.”

Cruz says OSF Healthcare is making plans for additional changes when Illinois’ new minimum wage law rises above their new $12 minimum wage in 2023.

The new OSF minimum wage raise takes effect Sunday, February 24. The first step in Illinois’ gradual minimum wage takes effect January 1, 2020, with an increase to $9.25 an hour.

OSF Healthcare operates hospitals and other healthcare facilities in 11 Illinois markets, including Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville and St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. A 12th OSF hospital in Escanaba, Michigan, is not covered by the new minimum wage rate, because wage levels there are determined through collective bargaining between the hospital and labor unions.

Story source: WILL