Cooper University Health Care announced Tuesday it will increase the minimum wage it pays employees to $15 an hour, saying that it is the first health system in the state to do so for its full-time, part-time and per-diem employees.
The new policy will go into effect on Jan. 1, and benefit approximately 10 percent of Cooper’s 7,500 employees, one-third of whom are Camden city residents and over 450 are Camden County residents. All other employee benefits and compensation will remain in place.
“We have an absolute obligation, as the largest employer in both the city of Camden and Camden County, to do the right thing and lead the way on providing a quality wage for our workers,” said George Norcross, chairman of Cooper’s board of trustees, in a statement. “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.”
According to Cooper, patient service representatives, food and nutrition staff and critical care technicians are among the workers who will benefit from the hourly wage increase, which equates to $31,200 annually.
Norcross also announced he was sending a personal letter to the chairmen and CEOs of health care systems in New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, calling on them to raise wages for their workers.