MARLTON, NJ— Virtua has followed Cooper University Health Care by announcing it will increase its minimum wage in 2019.

Today, Virtua President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, announced that the Marlton-based health system will raise its minimum wage for all Virtua Health employees to $15.15 an hour, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

“Virtua is consistently listed among the best places to work in the region due in large part to a commitment to recruiting and retaining talent. Leadership routinely evaluates all aspects of what makes us a respected and sought-after employer, and have been contemplating this move for some time. We want to send a clear signal to our employees that we care about them,” Pullin said.

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The decision will increase the wages of 900 to 1,000 individuals, including full-time, part-time, and per-diem employees. Virtua employs more than 9,000 people in total.

“As the largest health system in South Jersey and one of the largest employers in the region, Virtua has a responsibility to the community. For our patients, that means delivering top-quality care close to home. For our employees, it’s about hiring the best people, providing opportunities for advancement, and fostering a caring culture you can’t find anywhere else,” Pullin said.

On Nov. 13, Cooper University Health Care became the first health care system in New Jersey to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Cooper's Board of Trustees Chairman George E. Norcross III called for other area health care providers to follow suit.

"While there is undoubtedly a cost that comes with this decision, the benefit it provides to the people who make our organizations run and the patients they serve clearly outweighs the cost," Norcross wrote in a letter sent out to area health care systems.

On Nov. 29, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health Care, which has three hospitals in South Jersey, also raised its minimum wage to $15.

"Doing the right thing by patients and employees is ingrained in our values,” said Jeffrey Stevens, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Jefferson in a statement. “This increase to minimum wage supports those standards and helps us work toward achieving our mission of improving lives.”