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Business and Economy

Northern Light Health Bumping Starting Pay To $15 An Hour At All Locations

Hollie Maloney
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at the Portland Expo vaccine clinic run by Northern Light Mercy Hospital.

Maine's North Light Health hospital network said Monday that it’s raising the minimum wage for all its workers to $15 an hour.

Northern Light is one of the state’s largest private employers, with 10 hospitals stretching from Portland to Presque Isle.

Paul Bolin, senior vice president and the system’s chief human resources officer, says that around 1,200 workers will see their wages go up because they're less than $15 an hour — and many more workers who already make that amount will also get pay increases.

Bolin says that the higher pay and other benefits are meant to help retain and recruit workers in entry level positions such as food services, housekeeping and nursing assistant.

“These are hardworking people doing great work, but it’s a challenge to find folks for these positions," he says.

Bolin says that prior to the increase — which will be completed by June 1 — many of those workers were earning around $13 an hour or less, and it's become harder to fill those positions during the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that many other businesses are also raising their pay to compete for new workers.

Maine’s statewide minimum wage is $12.15 an hour.

Northern Light Health employs around 12,500 workers. Bolin said the pay increases would add millions more dollars to its annual costs.