What is the True Cost of UPMC’s Minimum Wage Increase?


The minimum hourly wage at UPMC has gone up to $18. That shows that there are a lot of things going on in the economy of Pennsylvania. The need to fill jobs that keep businesses running has been a big theme for the past three years.

It’s bad enough that stores and restaurants are having trouble staying open, not because they don’t have enough customers, but because they don’t have enough people to serve them. When it happens in a hospital, it can be a matter of life or death.

People shouldn’t just brush this off as an overstatement. How can a job that pays minimum wage to be important just because it’s in a hospital? The cleanliness of a medical facility is very important, but the people who are in charge of keeping it clean are often the lowest-paid workers.

Paying more is the easiest way to get more people to apply. It makes sense for the pay rate to go up based on what the health system has seen about supply and demand.

Hospitals in general, and UPMC in particular, have been dealing with this problem for years. The coronavirus pandemic and the current state of the economy have both made things worse. UPMC and Allegheny Health Network are now paying $15 per hour to new hires. This was started by UPMC in 2016.

Efforts to raise the minimum wage by the government are easier to stop than this kind of movement led by employers.

What is the True Cost of UPMC's Minimum Wage Increase

Gov. Tom Wolf wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2028, which critics say is not possible. In the meantime, PNC said that wages will go up to $18 per hour in 2021. $15 per hour is the starting wage at many stores, pharmacies, and other places of business.

Overall, the change could have the same effect as raising the state’s minimum wage, which has been set at the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for a long time.

Other businesses that don’t want to lose employees to UPMC, which is one of the largest employers in the state, may feel like they have to do the same thing or live with positions that are always open.

But the raise might sound better than it feels right now.

First of all, it won’t happen right away. UPMC plans to move its employees in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Williamsport to that number by 2025.

Other employees in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York will have to wait until 2026. The news on Thursday is just the beginning of a three-year process.

On top of that, the threat of inflation is always there. Raising pay is a good thing, but will that $3 raise be a raise when it’s fully put into place?

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