Advocate Aurora Health raises minimum wage to $18/hour

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Advocate Aurora Health, among the largest employers in Illinois and Wisconsin, has announced that it will raise its minimum wage to $18 an hour beginning December 5. 

Advocate Aurora is among the first health systems in the country to do so, according to the company.

The 10,800 team members directly affected by the wage hike include those in food service and environmental services positions. 

For full-time team members earning Advocate Aurora’s current minimum wage of $15 an hour, this increase will amount to roughly $500 more per month on a pre-tax basis, the health system said.

An additional 20,000 team members who already make more than $18 an hour, including pharmacy technicians and licensed practical nurses (LPNs), will also receive raises.

Advocate Aurora said it would use operational funds to pay for the $93 million investment through 2022. 

Advocate Aurora Health is one of the 12 largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the United States and a leading employer in the Midwest with more than 75,000 employees, including more than 22,000 nurses.


Healthcare staffing shortages abound nationwide; as a result, healthcare companies have focused on the hiring and retention of physicians and nurses. But the workforce shortages have affected most sectors.

For Advocate Aurora, the latest increase marks the system’s fourth minimum wage increase in less than three years. After committing to gradually raise its starting wage from $11 an hour to $15 an hour, Advocate Aurora increased its minimum hourly rate to $13 in mid-2019, $14 in early 2020 and $15 at the beginning of this year.

The health system said the wage increases demonstrate Advocate Aurora’s ongoing commitment to ensure team members have access to rewarding careers while acknowledging their critical role in providing care to 3 million patients annually. 

“Our team members go above and beyond in service to our patients, communities and each other. It’s an honor to recognize them with wage increases, comprehensive benefits and career advancement programs,” said President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh. “Helping talented individuals establish lifetime opportunities and rewarding careers at Advocate Aurora is critical to delivering on our purpose of helping people live well.”

Supply and demand in a tight labor market has led companies such as Amazon, Costco and Target to increase their hourly wage to $15 an hour, though Amazon’s average rate is $18 an hour, according to Forbes. Other companies are pledging to raise wages to $15 an hour in the future.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, when Congress last raised it.

Earlier this year, Democrats proposed a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief package, but the proposal failed. Separately, some states have raised the minimum wage on their own.

Economic factors for workforce shortages include aging employees who are retiring and younger workers who are willing to switch their jobs for better pay, according to CNBC.

The number of job openings was little changed at 10.4 million on the last business day of September, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job openings increased in healthcare and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000). 

Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services (-45,000).     


“This decision reflects how much we value our team members, whose commitment has been nothing short of extraordinary, especially during these challenging times. It also reflects our commitment to being a great employer,” Skogsbergh said. “Establishing industry-leading compensation is one way to reward our team members for their tremendous contributions while helping more people to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.” 

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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