MIDDLETOWN -- A company who serves the healthcare needs of 100,000 across Connecticut, has made a strong statement in their belief that minimum wage should be a living wage and not a learning wage.
Thursday morning, Community Health Center, Inc. announced they have raised their minimum wage to $18.50 an hour.
The company said it’s simple: if we show our employees we value them, they, in turn, will naturally value our customers.
Since 2011, CHC, whose patients include the underserved and uninsured across Connecticut, had a goal of raising its minimum wage to $18.50 an hour.
"We felt really strongly that people, who work a full-time job, ought to have a living wage so that they don’t have to run from this job to a second job and to a third job," said Margaret Flinter, a Senior Vice President for Community Health Center, Inc.
Among the employees benefiting is a mother of three, from New Haven, for whom life was very difficult.
"I’ve juggled going to school and working and having to have another part-time job and trying to manage everything. It was impossible," said Jasmine Gonzalez, who has been employed by CHC for five months.
Since being hired, and learning of her new hourly rate, a weight has been lifted.
"It allows me to do a lot," she said, with a smile. "Actually, I’m able to afford my rent. I’m able to afford a comfortable lifestyle. I am able to provide my children with groceries."
"Of course, at Community Health Center, we also are concerned with good benefits, health insurance, ways to help people save for that long distance retirement," said Flinter.
CHC also provides tuition reimbursement.
Community Health Center has been very welcoming, even from the beginning ,when I started," said Gonzalez. "During the whole orientation process, I actually met every one of the staff from Community Health Center and you don’t see that with other jobs."
The Middletown based healthcare provider estimates their minimum wage hike to $18.50 will positively impact between 150 and 175 employees statewide.