PORTLAND, Maine — MaineHealth recently announced that it is making a $61 million investment in its workforce by raising wages across its system, including setting a system-wide minimum wage for the organization of $17 per hour.
The wage increases will include a market adjustment to base wages of at least 2 percent for more than 18,000 eligible employees in non-executive, non-physician roles. There will also be significant additional market adjustments for a wide range of positions such as certified nurse assistants, medical assistants, registered nurses and many other hard-to-fill jobs. The system-wide minimum pay rate is going from $14 to $17 an hour at all MaineHealth facilities.
“We are committed to our vision of ‘working together so our communities are the healthiest in America,’ and to achieve that, we must retain and attract the best people,” said Andrew Mueller, M.D., chief executive officer of MaineHealth. “Our goal is to create a remarkable environment where each team member feels valued and fulfilled in the meaningful work we do to support our vision. To do that, not only must we continue to provide an inclusive workplace where people have the tools they need to provide world-class care, but we must compensate them appropriately in what is currently a very dynamic labor market.”
Given the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the workforce shortages that have emerged as it has eased in the United States, the health system has decided to implement wage increases as soon as it could, with the changes taking effect Aug. 8.
“After unprecedented financial losses related to the pandemic, this was not an easy decision to make, but we know it is the right one for our organization, our people and our patients. This is, first and foremost, an investment in the people who have been here, day-in-and-day-out, helping our communities through this awful pandemic” said Mueller. “But it is also vital that we stay competitive with our wages, not just in Maine and New Hampshire, but nationally, so that we can maintain the high-level of care people have come to expect from MaineHealth.”
The size of individual wage adjustments will vary according to position, and individual care team members will receive notice of their new compensation in August, with increases showing up in paychecks issued Aug. 27. Care team members represented by a union will see any adjustments to their pay made during the regular course of contract negotiations.
Besides announcing the program of care team wage increases, MaineHealth also announced it would be putting in place a new policy formalizing remote work opportunities for those whose roles do not require a full-time, in-person presence at a healthcare facility.
“One thing that the pandemic has highlighted, not only for our industry but for many others, is the previously untapped potential of offering remote work opportunities for roles that do not require a full-time in-person presence,” said Mueller. “Indeed, in some fields the work-from-home revolution has already created a situation where we cannot expect to be competitive in attracting and retaining the best people without offering this flexibility as an option.”
The new policy is expected to roll out in August, and eligibility for remote work opportunities at MaineHealth will be determined by managers on-site at specific locations and will mostly involve non-clinical roles.
“Taken together, we believe these changes will help us to remain an employer of choice and continue the important work of bringing our vision to life in the communities we serve,” said Mueller.