Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why the Cleveland Clinic's $15 minimum wage matters to you


Earlier this week, the Cleveland Clinic committed, by January 2020, to raise the minimum wage for its employees to $15 an hour.

According to its CEO, Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, its all about making sure employees feel respected and valued … and attracting and retaining the best employees.

As the largest employer in Northeast Ohio and the second largest employer in the state of Ohio, Cleveland Clinic has a responsibility to lead the way and help shape the future of health care and the health care workforce.…

Every caregiver's role is important. Increasing our minimum wage demonstrates our commitment to our employees and their families, as well as the community and our patients. It is a reflection of who we want to be as an organization.…

Ultimately, we want to continue attracting the best and brightest caregivers in all roles. We want to remain an employer of choice and give back to the caregivers who do so much for the patients we serve at Cleveland Clinic. Our goal at Cleveland Clinic is to be the best place for health care and the best place to work in health care. To reach that goal, we will continue to align caregiver pay with other top employers in the markets where Cleveland Clinic operates.…

The Clinic joins other large employers—Amazon, Walmart, Target, Disney Parks, McDonald's—in adopting a $15 minimum wage.

Which is great for them and their employees, but why should this matter to you and your business?

Because by raising their minimum wage, you will have to do the same. Or you will if you want to attract and retain quality employees. These employers have moved the needle on the issue of the minimum wage. To compete in the job market against those offering a $15 minimum wage, other companies will have to match, or risk losing quality employees to higher paying employers. Thus, over time, the $15 minimum wage will organically spread.

This is not to say that this increased minimum wage is not without problems of its own. For example, if you raise your minimum wage to $15 an hour, what happens to all of those employees already earning $15 an hour? To the employee, hired 10 years ago at $8 an hour, who worked his butt off for the past decade, and, through a series of promotion and raises, earned his way up to $15 an hour? Will you provide a proportional raise to keep pace? And, if not, a $15 minimum wage will convert those millions of workers into minimum-wage employees. And, for better or for worse, there is a certain stigma with being classified as minimum wage—especially if you've worked hard for years not to be minimum wage.


These are not easy issues with easy solutions. However, the $15 minimum wage train has most definitely left the station, and there is no going back. The question is not if you will adopt it, but when, and how.


* Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash
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