New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal joined Cooper University Health Care Co-President Kevin O’Dowd, Cooper Chairman George E. Norcross III, and Congressman Donald Norcross on Monday, April 8, 2019, as part of a series of hospital visits to highlight the positive impacts of Governor Phil Murphy’s signing of the $15 minimum wage law.
In November 2018, Cooper University Health Care became the first health care system in New Jersey to commit to raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for full-time, part-time, and per-diem employees. This policy was implemented in January 2019. The raise benefits approximately 16 percent of Cooper’s 7,500 employees, more than 450 of whom are Camden County residents.
“Cooper University Health Care is a leader in embracing higher wages because they know this results in a thriving, more productive workforce,” Commissioner Elnahal said. “Not only does this investment help employees, it also produces better, higher-quality care.”
During his visit, Commissioner Elnahal met with Cooper employees who have benefited from their new minimum wage policy. Earlier this year, Governor Murphy signed legislation that will raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.
Under the law, the base minimum wage for New Jersey workers will increase to $10/hour on July 1, 2019. By January 1, 2020, the statewide minimum wage will increase to $11/hour, and then will increase by $1/hour every January 1st until it reaches $15/hour on January 1, 2024, impacting more than one million New Jersey workers.
“It is important that health systems lead the way on this issue given all that we know about the connection between financial security and long-term health outcomes, which is why we knew we had to take steps to raise wages for Cooper’s staff,” said George E. Norcross III, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Cooper University Health Care. “At Cooper, we have taken a leading role in supporting the revitalization of Camden and supporting its residents, and as the largest employer in Camden city – we recently moved hundreds of new employees into the city under the Grow New Jersey program – we knew that we have to lead by example, and raising wages is just one way we are doing that.”
Wendy A. Marano
Public Relations Manager