AP NEWS

Bon Secours St. Francis to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

December 27, 2019 GMT

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Minimum wage employees of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System are in line for a raise.

Salaries for those workers are going up to $15 an hour by 2022, the hospital’s parent company, Bon Secours Mercy Health, announced this week. The move is designed to provide employees and their families “a dignified livelihood while working, and in retirement,” officials said in a news release.

More than 8,100 employees, or 14% of the system’s 60,000 workers, will be affected by the change, which represents an additional $17 million investment over the next three years, officials said. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System had 3,452 employees in South Carolina in 2017, according to tax filings.

Larry Pitts, human resources director for the hospital, said 475 employees will be affected by the increase locally, The Greenville News reported. The move will make the hospital more competitive by attracting health care workers and reducing turnover, he added.

The increase will be phased in at all of the system’s U.S. markets, adjusted for cost of living variances. Exceptions include union workers whose wages are negotiated as part of their collective bargaining agreements, or about 7% of the workforce, and the Ireland market, which joined the health system in 2019, officials said.

“We are proud to provide our associates a dignified livelihood, which includes a competitive living wage, affordable access to health care, and other programs that support their well-being, in body, mind and spirit,” said chief human resources officer Joe Gage.

“It’s the right thing to do for our associates,” he added, “and it’s one more way that we ensure Bon Secours Mercy Health is the place where people want to work, sharing their talents, skills and passions in support of Jesus’ healing ministry.”

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. South Carolina’s minimum wage is also $7.25 according to the National Employment Law Project.

Some states have higher minimum wage laws — Maine’s is $10, for example, while Massachusetts’ is $11 and California’s is $12, NELP reports.

A bill introduced in the South Carolina House last January would establish a minimum wage of $10 an hour by Jan. 1, 2020, and increase it to $11 by 2021 and $12 by 2022. That bill, H. 3395, was referred to the House Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

Bon Secours merged with Mercy Health last year to form Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the 20 largest health systems, and the fifth-largest Catholic health system, in the nation, with more than 40 hospitals in seven states and Ireland, and $8 billion in net operating revenue.

Its South Carolina facilities include Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown and St. Francis Eastside.