CIRCLEVILLE — About 40 percent or more of OhioHealth employees at OhioHealth Berger Hospital will see a pay increase later this year.

OhioHealth announced Wednesday that they will be raising their minimum wage across the company to $15 an hour up – from $12 an hour – as part of an overall plan to increase wages.

OhioHealth has more than 4,200 associates who earn less than $15 per hour. In Pickaway County at OhioHealth Berger 129 of the 550 employees make less than $15 an hour. Full-time employees will see their compensation increase from $24,960 to $31,200 per year. The increase will go into effect Nov. 3.

“As an organization we are thrilled to be able to help our associates in this way,” Johnni Beckel, senior vice president and chief human resources officer said. “It really represents our values and who we are as an organization. The associates can feel like they can bring their whole self to work. If they’re worrying about making ends meet, they can’t be as dedicated to their jobs. This will impact the lives of the associates affected by this.”

In addition, those making a little more than $15 per hour will see an upward adjustment, which would effect between 70 and 120 additional employees.

“For many years, OhioHealth has paid well above minimum wage for certain jobs in order to attract and retain talent, and, more importantly, to live our values,” she said. “In today’s strong labor market, competitive pay helps us attract top talent for patient-facing roles that are essential to a positive patient and family experience.”

Ryan Scribner, economic development director for Pickaway Progress Partnership, the economic entity for Pickaway County said the cost of living isn’t going down and this is OhioHealth’s recognition of that.

“It’s never a bad thing for folks to be making more money,” Scribner said. “We’re in a competitive labor market and OhioHealth wants to do right by their employees. We’re seeing it in a public announcement today but we see it in other markets and sectors like logistics and manufacturing as well. I see this as an indication as OhioHealth being good employers and doing their best to take care of their employees.”

Circleville Mayor Don McIlroy called the announcement great news.

“It’s an indication that OhioHealth really wants to invest in this community and this is one way they’re doing it,” he said.

David Crawford, president of Circleville City Council, also reacted to the news Wednesday afternoon.

That is a significant increase that will not only help the employees but it will also help the city as well with income tax,” Crawford said. “We’re finding not only hospitals but other retail stores like restaurants are increasing their minimum wage. It’s going to help a lot of households.”

Brian Stewart, Pickaway County Commissioner, said he thinks the increase is a great thing for the community.

“I think this is another good indication of how committed OhioHealth is to investing and improving Berger Hospital,” he said. “These are the kinds of improvements that we had in mind when we were working on this deal for all these years. With the backing of a large, regional health-care system like OhioHealth, there is now the opportunity to improve the wages for employees that frankly would have been difficult if not impossible given the restraints and handcuffs that were on Berger when it was still a small independent government owned facility.”

Among positions that will see the most benefit are positions with the highest turnover in the company, including jobs within environmental services, which maintain the cleanliness of rooms and facilities; patient escorts, who transfer patients from one room or area of the hospital to another; and patient support associates who assist nurses in providing essential needs for patients such as going to the bathroom.

“It will have a positive impact on retention and we’ll keep people longer,” Beckel said. “We want people to have a career and stay with us. We don’t want them to worry about going down the street for 50 cents more but to think about OhioHealth as a lifelong career.”

Beckel said this change was something they’d considered for some time and began in 2016 with the first increase to the company’s minimum wage to $11. It was then increased again in 2018 to $12 before this increase to start later in the year.

“There are two reasons we’re doing it,” she said. “The first is we have a pay philosophy that looks at fair and competitive compensation as we look at the external market as well as internal equity within OhioHealth. For all positions within OhioHealth we have that philosophy. It’s also important for us to attract and retain the best talent we can so we can provide the best service to our patients.”

“We are honored to be a part of the community in Circleville not only as a leadership team but as a family to help impact associates in this way,” Beckel said. “This increase in pay represents our values and who we are as an organization.”

email scollins@circlevilleherald.com follow on twitter @Collins_Herald

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