Proposed Minimum Wage Increase For Healthcare Workers Halted in California

By: David Donovan | Published: May 23, 2024

A year ago, a new minimum wage increase was signed and approved for healthcare workers in California which is due to come into effect starting on June 1.

The financial crisis gripping the state is casting doubt on whether the increase will be implemented as planned as lawmakers in California are eager for a delay.

Reasons for Minimum Wage Increase

The high cost of living as well as the effects of inflation have meant that healthcare workers are not able to make ends meet which inspired a push for an increase in the minimum wage.

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Gavin Newsom meets with scientists and physicians virtually with Mark Ghaly. He is sitting at a table facing a laptop.

Government of California

Back in 2023 this wage increase was approved and signed into law by the governor. Just next week the minimum wage increase for healthcare workers was due to be implemented.

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Pushback to July

While healthcare workers were anticipating an easing of financial burden with this wage increase, the government is looking to delay its implementation.

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Senator Maria Elena Durazo, she is smiling and wearing glasses as well as a beaded necklace.

California Senate

One lawmaker, Senator Maria Elena Durazo, who was involved in writing the legislation to increase the minimum wage for healthcare workers has stated that the realization of this increase would be delayed to July 2024.

Landmark Legislation

Senator Durazo, when presenting the motion for delaying the implementation of the minimum wage increase to July, offered praise to the lawmakers and the governor for their efforts in championing this piece of legislation.

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Group of doctors walking in hospital hallway, they wear blue scrubs and white coats, they are facing away from the camera

Unsplash user Luis Melendez

The law which seeks to increase the minimum wage for healthcare workers known as SB 252, would be historic in impacting over 450,000 people who are employed in the healthcare industry, particularly women and people of color.

Employers Anticipating the Increase

Some healthcare employers have already anticipated the change to the increase in minimum wage as they prepared for the June 1 change even though it has now been delayed to July 1.

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Doctor sitting at the table in front of a girl, she is holding a pen and in the middle of writing something.

Unsplash user Francisco Venâncio

Durazo praised those who had already implemented the wage increase and said it would allow healthcare workers to live more comfortably as they care for their families and meet their needs.

Reasoning for July Postponement

As per Durazo SB 525’s budget year only begins in July hence why healthcare workers are required to wait until July 1 for the minimum wage increase to take effect.

Healthcare worker wearing a white and blue uniform with a stethoscope, there is a patient out of focus in the background.

Unsplash user JESHOOTS.COM

Another piece of legislation SB 828 which is related to land use, has caused the wage increase to be postponed till July 1 since it coincides with the budget year of SB 525 and provide lawmakers with leeway to review its effectiveness.

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Budget Ideas Receive Criticism

Criticism was drawn in relation to budget ideas which caused the postponement in actioning the minimum wage increase for healthcare workers in California.

Gov. Newsom met with President Xi Jinping and other high-level Chinese officials on Oct. 25, 2023

Office of the Governor of California

The governor required more time to mull over this statute as he and the Democratic-centered Legislature were debating during budget discussions.

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Minimum Wage Increase Faces Challenges

As the California government continues to face financial difficulties, the question of how much is needed to make this necessity a reality comes to the fore.

Gov. Newsom met with President Xi Jinping and other high-level Chinese officials on Oct. 25, 2023.

Office of the Governor of California

This new minimum wage would run up costs of around $4 billion as per estimations by the government in California amidst Newsom’s intent to increase budget cuts.

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Continuous Discussion on Minimum Wage Increase

Budget discussions kept circling back to the issue of the requirement for an increase of the minimum wage for health care workers in the state.

Governor Newsom with his family and supporters behind him crossing a bridge.

Office of the Governor of California

Governor Newsom claims that this issue has been a continuous discussion as it has been difficult to find a concrete solution.

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Fast Food Minimum Wage Increase Causing Waves

This increase in minimum wage for healthcare workers comes on the heels of this year’s increase in minimum wages for fast food wages.

McDonald's New Hamburger University is a glass building that reflects the other side of the street.

Wikimedia Commons user Dirk Tussing

Newsom’s critics have been quick to point out the resulting inflation in fast-food prices as well as some businesses in the industry closing down.

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A Lengthy Battle for Increase in Wages

The rate of inflation is keeping workers’ unions adamant about the need for increases in the minimum wage across many sectors.

Selective focus photography of a woman wearing a black cold-shoulder shirt using a megaphone during daytime

Unsplash user Clem Onojeghuo

The combination of high taxes, rising house prices, and the cost of food and other necessities has meant that workers have been struggling to meet their needs.

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Is July 1 Implementation Realistic?

While July 1 has been confirmed as the date for the postponement of implementing the increase in wages for healthcare workers there is doubt over whether another delay is on the horizon.

A person wearing a lavatory gown with a green stethoscope on the neck using a phone while standing

Unsplash user National Cancer Institute

Durazo claims that legislators and the governor would need to consider including this minimum wage increase in the state’s new budget.

As healthcare workers are eager for the new minimum wage increase to be implemented it remains to be seen if further delays will postpone this financial relief.

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