UW Health raising minimum wage to $17 per hour beginning in May

MADISON, Wis. — UW Health is raising its minimum wage beginning in May, the hospital announced Wednesday.

The healthcare provider’s lowest pay rate will rise from $15 per hour to $17 per hour, affecting over 20% of the hospital’s workers.

“We are raising the bar again to support the dedicated and talented staff here at UW Health,” chief human resources officer Betsy Clough said in a statement. “We value every individual on our team, because they each play a key role in delivering remarkable patient care to our community.”

UW Health raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour five years ago. Clough said the move will incentivize more people to come work at the hospital.

“I feel like this will have a rather large impact,” Clough said. “We’re really confident this will help retain the current workforce but also help recruit people.”

Clough said the new wage is the hospital’s way of supporting its staff.

“Potentially that previous lowest regular rate didn’t work for everybody and wasn’t effective in supporting their lives,” she said. “We hope that this $17 sends a signal about the value we place on our workforce.”

However, a higher wage is just one of a few changes UW Health is making to address workforce challenges.

“We have a series of both short-term strategies, things like increasing our lowest regular rate, and longer-term strategies which include things like rethinking how we do our work,” Clough said. “We’re trying to put all of those together.”

The wage increase will benefit about 1,000 workers including environmental services technicians, medical assistants, and nursing assistants.