AP NEWS

Ochsner hikes minimum wage by $4 an hour to $12

December 8, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s largest nonprofit health care system, Ochsner Health System, is raising its minimum wage to $12 per hour — about $4 per hour more than the roughly 1,200 affected employees were previously making.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that Ochsner made the announcement Thursday.

The move is effective Jan. 20 and will affect more than 1,200 employees across the system.

Ochsner is also the state’s largest private employer.

The legal minimum wage is currently at $7.25 but Ochsner was already paying a minimum of $8.10 per hour.

The health care company made the change based on recommendations drawn from a recent human resources review. The review focused on initiatives to improve the financial well-being of its employees.

Ochsner President and CEO Warner Thomas said Thursday that although they were already above the current minimum wage, “we wanted to do more.”

“We are committed to growing jobs and to offering new and innovative programs that provide financial wellness, workforce development and lifelong learning opportunities to our own team and to those who want to join us,” he said.

Walter Lane, an associate professor at the University of New Orleans, studies health care economics. He said these are “high-turnover” jobs and the extra money may encourage employees to stay in one position longer.

“Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do, but also it’s a competitive thing to do,” said Lane. Lane also serves on the board of the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 2. The nine-member commission oversees Slidell Memorial Hospital, which is an independent community hospital that’s included in the Ochsner Health Network

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Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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