While many Americans are clamoring to increase the minimum wage for low-income workers living paycheck to paycheck, politicians continue to squabble about the topic — which is pretty important regardless of which side of the aisle you stand.
In the meantime, a Dallas hospital has taken a step forward to pay its workers more.
Executives at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital recently voted to increase pay for all 230 of the hospital’s minimum-wage workers. Currently, they make $8.78 an hour, which will be bumped to $10.25 starting July 1 — that’s $3 more than the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Louise Sedberry has worked at the hospital for two years and thought she was being pranked when she heard the news. “I thought it was a joke,” she said to news station CBS DFW. “I thought they were playing with me.”
How is the hospital able to afford such an increase? In a bold move, executives decided to forego their bonuses to fund the pay raise for every worker.
Dr. Paula Dobbs-Wiggins, chair of the board’s Employee Relations Executive Compensation Committee, said in a press release that it was the right thing to do. “I am particularly pleased that we …. [are] recognizing the importance and value of all our employees,” she said.
The raise comes at a time where workers are struggling to make ends meet. Now many employees say they don’t have to overwork themselves. They can enjoy their free time, focus less on money, and begin to plan for the future.
“I won’t be as tired. I can save money and move into my own place now,” Brittany Florence, a Parkland employee who cleans the hospital’s floors, told WFAA.
Jim Dunn, the hospital’s executive vice president and chief talent officer, told the Huffington Post that other employees will also benefit from the pay raise. “Others have commented that they won’t have to work as much overtime and will be able to spend more time with their families.”
The hospital’s pay raise is a step towards labor reform and is an example of what others can do to help their own employees, but Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who helped lead the initiative, said more needs to be done to help struggling Americans.
“My next goal is to talk to other municipalities and other governmental agencies about joining us in this effort,” he said. “It’s not right that a person who works full time and is on food stamps and government assistance.”