Sentara Healthcare announced Friday it has achieved a $15 per hour minimum starting wage eight months sooner than promised.

Sentara, a Norfolk-based company that operates Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, announced in late 2019 that it would incrementally increase its starting wage to $15 by January 2022, but it recently accelerated that process.

The $15 starting wage is more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

“At Sentara, we strive to attract, retain and engage a diverse workforce committed to our mission to improve health every day,” said Becky Sawyer, Sentara’s executive vice president and chief people officer. “We know our people are our future.”

In addition to the accelerated starting wage, Sentara is investing an additional $43 million in across-the-board 3% merit pay increases and market adjustments. These enhancements in pay are in addition to a "Gift of Gratitude" ranging from $750 to $1,500 for most employees, recognizing their dedication and professionalism throughout the pandemic. The increases will take effect in May and benefit more than 90% of Sentara’s 28,300 employees. 

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