OWATONNA — As minimum wage becomes a speaking point for the upcoming presidential election, Minnesota-based Allina Health steps ahead of the crowd by raising its internal wage floor to $15 per hour, exceeding the current minimum wage required by city, state, and federal legislation.

“It’s important we continually invest in our talented workforce and provide a culture of caring so they can best care for our patients, their families, and their coworkers,” said David Albrecht, president of Owatonna Hospital and District One Hospital in Faribault. “Our employees are our single most valuable resource and [Tuesday’s] announcement is part of our on-going commitment to employees at every level of our organization.”

According to Albrecht, the increase in the wage floor will only directly impact a handful of people at the two area Allina hospitals as their wage scales were generally already that level or above.

“It affects some, but not a lot,” Albrecht explained. “Mainly it affects our entry-level positions, which is where we’ve been short. Hopefully this will make people more aware of our wage scale and attract more people to consider applying.”

Albrecht said that the ongoing labor shortage crisis has been felt in the health care industry, specifically in the roles of patient registration, food service, and environmental services at the two hospitals he oversees. He stated that they have felt the pains of the labor shortage in those positions over the last three years.

“Every member that works here is very important to what we do, there’s no question,” Albrecht said about the necessity to retain employees in every department at the hospitals. With the increase in the wage floor, Albrecht added that he suspects more employees will be able to start “graduating” up the wage scales overtime.

The wage floor applies to all Allina Health employees, both union and non-contract staff. The new hourly wage floor goes into effect in July.

Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 444-2378 or Follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie.

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