Arkansas Children’s leaders have just announced the company has raised its living wage to $15 an hour.
The decision invests in the Arkansas Children’s team and applies to any employee across the system, including those contracted through food service and environmental services. More than 500 team members will see their paychecks impacted by the change.
“One way we continue investing in our people is by ensuring wages reflect the true costs of living so that our employees can earn what they need to support themselves and their families,” Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer Crystal Kohanke, MS, PHR, SHRM-CP wrote in a memo to team members.
A living wage is different from the minimum wage. The minimum wage is the base wage set by local, state and federal government. The current minimum wage in Arkansas is $11 per hour. A living wage represents the hourly amount a worker needs to afford basic living expenses and reflects the local living standards and needs for workers and their families.
The change to $15 an hour was approved by Arkansas Children’s board of directors, who have prioritized ensuring all employees earn a living wage. In 2019, Arkansas Children’s raised its living wage from $10.10 per hour to $14 an hour.
“We believe a living wage is essential. At Arkansas Children’s, we want every team member to feel fully supported and fully prepared to help care for sick and injured children,” said Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer, FACHE. “This latest living wage enhancement is part of our ongoing commitment to the team.”
Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas’ more than 700,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state’s only burn center; the state’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state’s only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2021—2022): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, is a level IV pediatric trauma center. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas’ only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children’s since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health.