Atrium Health Implements Market-Leading Minimum Wage Increase

Health provider investing more than $328 million into its workforce

January 12, 2024

As the new year sets in, many Atrium Health teammates will be seeing a larger paycheck. Effective Jan. 14, the health system will increase base pay for the bulk of its workforce by a minimum of 3%, with its hourly minimum wage also increasing to a health care market-leading $17.50 per hour in both the Charlotte and Winston-Salem markets. The system’s current minimum is $16.50 per hour.  

In total, Atrium Health’s parent organization, Charlotte-based Advocate Health, will be investing an additional $328.4 million into its teammates’ compensation beginning this month.  

“Every day, our teammates deliver exceptional care for our patients and communities, so it is essential that we prioritize taking care of them too,” said Ken Haynes, president of the Southeast Region of Advocate Health. “That’s why we continually make these types of investments into our workforce, to make sure we are attracting and retaining the best talent. It’s because of our teammates that Atrium Health is the most trusted and preferred health care provider.” 

The 3% across-the-board base pay increase amounts to an additional $117 million in salaries spread among more than 64,000 Atrium Health teammates across the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama.  

The increased minimum wage will result in higher wages for 31,700 hourly workers in roles such as nursing aides, medical assistants, pharmacy techs and environmental services technicians. Atrium Health has steadily increased its minimum wage by a total of 140% since 2012, raising it each year. With this year’s increase to $17.50 per hour, Atrium Health’s North Carolina teammates earning the organization’s minimum will now be $10.50 per hour higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Atrium Health’s locations in rural Georgia and Alabama will see the minimum wage there increase from $14 per hour to $15 per hour.  

In total, the increased minimum wage represents an added $45.5 million investment into Atrium Health’s hourly teammates, including compression adjustments designed to lift wages for those previously making just above their respective new market minimum. Also, recalibration of pay ranges for jobs within the organization is resulting in another $40.9 million in additional salary investments.   

Atrium Health also is expected to provide more than $125 million in added funding as part of other compensation programs it offers its teammates.  

“Whether caring for patients, working in a research lab, helping educate the next generation of health care leaders or supporting all the functions that keep our organization running, our employees are our most important asset,” said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, CEO and chief academic officer at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, chief academic officer and executive vice president at Advocate Health and executive vice president for health affairs at Wake Forest University. “I am so proud of the incredible efforts of our entire team across our academic learning health system.” 

“As the region’s largest employer, our culture is built on caring and inclusion,” said Mick Fisher, chief human resources officer at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. “We are committed to providing market-competitive compensation to our teammates and we are thankful for their dedication to each other and to those we are privileged to serve.”  

Advocate Health is among North Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 64,000 Atrium Health teammates and $5.6 billion in annual payroll, including the additional 10,500 teammates it employs in Georgia.  

In recent months, Atrium Health has been recognized by Newsweek as a “Top 100 Most Loved Workplace,” by Forbes as a “Best Employer” in both North Carolina and Georgia, as a “Best Place to Work for Veterans” and a “Best Employers for Diversity,” as well as by Diversity MBA Magazine as a “Best Place to Work for Women and Diverse Managers.” Atrium Health was also named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare.”  

As the health care industry continues to face a shortage of qualified clinical staff, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist is currently hiring, with a special emphasis on nurses. Whether an experienced nurse looking for a change or someone just entering the profession, Atrium Health, Advocate Health and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist offer endless opportunities to start or enhance a career. A complete listing of available positions can be found on the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist careers website.