Advocate Aurora increasing its minimum hourly wage to $18

Aurora Health Center in Pleasant Prairie

Advocate Aurora Health, one of the largest employers in the state, said it will raise its minimum hourly wage to $18 beginning Dec. 5

The Milwaukee- and Downers Grove, Illinois- based health system said the pay increases amount to a $93 million investment through 2022 and will directly impact about 10,800 employees. The current hourly minimum wage at Advocate Aurora is $15.

President and chief executive officer Jim Skogsbergh announced the wage hikes in a video to employees Thursday.

“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.”

Operational funds at the system will pay for the wage increase.

Advocate Aurora, which employs about 75,000 people across its system, said it is among the first of its peers nationally to raise its hourly minimum wage to $18.

Several financial services employers with a large presence in the Milwaukee area have recently announced similar increases. Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank and Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank said they will bump their minimum hourly wage to $18 this fall.

Advocate Aurora employees directly affected by the increase include those in food service and environmental services positions. The increase will amount to those employees earning roughly $500 more per month.

Another 20,000 employees who already make more than $18 an hour, including pharmacy technicians and licensed practical nurse, will also receive raises, Advocate Aurora said.

This increase marks the system’s fourth minimum wage increase in under three years. After saying it would gradually raise its starting wage from $11 an hour to $15 an hour, it increased its hourly rate to $13 in mid-2019, $14 in early 2020 and $15 at the beginning of this year.

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Lauren Anderson is an associate editor and covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism.

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