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November 13, 2018

Cooper University Health Care boosts minimum wage to $15

New wage policy is 'an absolute obligation'

Health News Cooper University Health Care
Cooper University Hospital Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey.

Cooper University Health Care will boost the minimum wage for workers to $15 per hour, the health system announced on Tuesday.

The new wage policy will take effect on January 1 and benefit all full-time, part-time and per-diem employees. About 10 percent of the Camden-based Cooper's 7,500 employees will see their wages boosted to the new minimum, officials said.

Cooper will become the first health system in New Jersey to pay a $15 hourly wage, which equates to a $31,200 annual salary for full-time employees. All other employee benefits and compensation will remain the same.

George E. Norcross III, chairman of Cooper's board of trustees, released a statement saying Cooper had "an absolute obligation" to "do the right thing" as the largest employer in Camden County.

The policy mostly will impact patient service representatives, food and nutrition staffers, and critical care technicians, among other employees.

Of the 750-or-so employees affected by the policy, about 450 live in Camden County, according to Cooper. About one-third live in the city of Camden.

Cooper officials anticipate the wage increase will reduce turnover and lead to a more talented pool of job applicants.

"In addition to being the right thing to do, we believe investing in our employees is a smart business decision that will pay dividends in the long run by helping us attract and retain talented people who will ultimately improve the health care experience for our patients," Norcross said.

Full disclosure: George E. Norcross III is the father of PhillyVoice Founder and CEO Lexie Norcross.

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