Historic $25 Minimum Wage for Health Care Workers Bill on Way to Governor Newsom’s Desk

Press Contact:
Mike Roth, 916.813.1554
Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291, Spanish-language
September 15, 2023

With Newsom’s Signature on SB 525 (Durazo), California Will Take Huge Step to Stabilize Workforce, Fix Patient Care Crisis 

SACRAMENTO, CA – SB 525 (Durazo), a bill creating the nation’s first statewide healthcare worker minimum wage of $25/hr is on its way to Governor Newsom’s desk after final votes in both houses of the Legislature today. The bill cements a historic agreement between workers and industry leaders that will result in landmark investment in the health care workforce. The agreement comes after SEIU members have sounded the alarm on the care crisis and championed the bill to stabilize the workforce at every point in the healthcare system, from nursing homes and dialysis clinics to hospitals and community health centers. 

“California can only stop the hemorrhaging of healthcare workers by ensuring health care workers can do the work they love and pay their bills; that’s why this week’s monumental agreement on SB 525 is a huge win for workers and patients seeking care,” said Tia Orr, Executive Director of SEIU California. “SEIU members have been sounding the alarm on the care crisis for years, and we are proud of the pathway we forged with industry leaders to invest in worker strength and patient access. We thank Speaker Rivas for bringing workers and industry leaders from across the healthcare industry together, and leaders in both houses for making investment in workers a priority this year. We urge Governor Newsom to sign this bill and make history for California as the first state to lift the floor on health care worker wages to $25.” 

“SB 525 marks a historic investment in the people who make health care possible and shape patients’ experience of care. We are medical assistants, housekeepers, nutrition workers and more, and it’s time California invested in us,” said Mauricio Medina, Intensive Care Unit Secretary at Southern California Hospital in Hollywood. “We thank the legislature for passing SB 525 to ensure healthcare workers are able to sustain our families and help Californians be healthy.”

“I urge Governor Newsom to sign Sen. Durazo’s bill to keep the promise of health care for all Californians,” said Miriam Hernandez, a Medical Assistant at Innercare in El Centro, “Californians deserve to receive care from workers who come from their communities and share their experiences, language and culture.  But the lowest-wage workers in our system are people of color, leaving us most vulnerable to poverty and hunger. SB 525 invests in us and says we are valued.” 

“SB 525 is moving to Governor Newsom’s desk because health care workers, nursing home workers, clinic workers and dialysis workers came together to fix a crisis that has left us exhausted and struggling to pay our bills,” said Christina Lockyear-White, a certified nursing assistant at Bakersfield Rehabilitation Center. “I’m proud of fighting hard to improve care for my patients, now Governor Newsom must do his part and sign this bill.” 

According to a recently published University of California Berkeley Labor Center report, a $25 healthcare worker minimum wage would lift wages for about 455,000 healthcare workers. Three out of four – or 75.4% – of workers who would see increases in wages are women, and 76% are workers of color. Almost half of all healthcare workers affected are Latino.

SB 525 (Durazo) would establish a statewide healthcare worker minimum wage of $25/hour by raising wages 

  • at large health facility employers and dialysis clinics to $23/hour in 2024, $24/hour in 2025, and $25 in 2026.
  • at hospitals with a high governmental-payer mix, rural independent hospitals, and small county facilities, to $18/hour in 2024, and goes up at 3.5% until it reaches $25 in 2033. 
  • at community clinics to $21/hour in 2024, $22 in 2026 and $25 in 2027
  • at other covered health facilities to $21/hour in 2024, $23 in 2026 and $25 by 2028