FARMINGTON – MaineHealth will be increasing minimum wage across the entire system according to a press release sent yesterday. Currently Maine offers a minimum wage of $12.15 per hour. MaineHealth, including the Franklin Community Health Network, had been offering $14 per hour for starting wages but plans to increase that number to $17 per hour. Increases in other wages will also be seen, totaling a $61 million investment.
MaineHealth is Maine’s largest private employer, and like many organizations, has experienced a significant staffing shortage in the last year, and in particular the last several months.
FCHN President Trampas Hutches said there are a number of positions that have been difficult to fill, including CNAs, EMTs, food service workers, paramedics and more.
“Our hope is that by raising the MaineHealth minimum wage, in addition to increasing wages for other hard-to-fill positions, we will be more competitive in the health care recruitment market and provide a better working environment for our current care team members,” he said.
Because of shortages, other care team members have been taking on the extra workload. Hutches said he hopes that by making the jobs more attractive to applicants, employees can get the “ease of burden” that they deserve.
“The increase in wages will affect the majority of our 670 person care team and be life-changing for some of our lowest paid workers. We’re really proud to be a part of an organization that prioritizes its employees and values the high quality care they provide for our patients and our community day in and day out,” Hutches said.
CEO of MaineHealth Andrew Mueller said the decision was somewhat difficult given the financial loss that the organization saw during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increases are slated to begin on Aug. 8. 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.
“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,” Mueller said. “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.”
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.
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.