New Minimum Wage Schedules for California Healthcare Employees under SB 525

California's SB 525 introduces specific minimum wage schedules for healthcare employees, varying by the size, location, and nature of their healthcare facility. Effective June 1, 2024, the new minimum wage will be set at $18, $21, or $23 per hour based on certain criteria.

Definition and Applicability
SB 525 defines "covered health facility" to include nearly every type of healthcare facility, except those owned, controlled, or operated by the California Department of State Hospitals and tribal clinics exempt from licensure. This includes outpatient settings operated by federally recognized Indian tribes.

Minimum Wage Schedules
The bill establishes four distinct pay schedules for covered health facility employers:

Large Healthcare Facilities

Facilities with 10,000 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEEs), including dialysis clinics:

  • $23 per hour starting June 2024
  • $24 per hour starting June 2025
  • $25 per hour starting June 2026

Specialized Hospitals and Rural Facilities

Hospitals with high Government Payer Mix, rural independent facilities, or county-run facilities in counties with populations under 250,000 (as of January 1, 2023):

  • $18 per hour starting June 2024, with annual 3.5% increases
  • $25 per hour starting June 2033, subject to adjustments based on inflation or a 3.5% increase, whichever is lower


Community and Rural Clinics

Includes community clinics, free clinics, primary care clinics, rural clinics, and their associated intermittent clinics and urgent care clinics:

  • $21 per hour starting June 2024
  • $22 per hour starting June 2026
  • $25 per hour starting June 2027, subject to adjustments based on inflation or a 3.5% increase, whichever is lower

Note: Excludes clinics run by governmental entities.


Miscellaneous Healthcare Facilities

This category includes skilled nursing facilities, surgical centers, medical groups, county mental health facilities, and county correctional health facilities:

  • $21 per hour starting June 2024
  • $23 per hour starting June 2026
  • $25 per hour starting June 2028, subject to adjustments based on inflation or a 3.5% increase, whichever is lower

Covered Employees


The wage schedules apply to a broad array of healthcare positions, including contracted or subcontracted roles in patient care (e.g., nurses and physicians) and support roles (e.g., janitors and clerical workers). However, SB 525 does not cover outside salespersons, public sector employees not primarily involved in healthcare, and delivery or waste collection workers not directly employed by the healthcare facility.

This comprehensive legislation aims to standardize fair wages across California’s diverse healthcare landscape, ensuring equitable compensation for healthcare workers based on the nature and scope of their employment settings.

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