Georgia’s Minimum Wage Increase Causes Massive Layoffs for Health Care Workers


Georgia is one of the few states that still pays the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which has been unchanged since 2009. However, some Georgia firms have elected to voluntarily boost their minimum salaries in 2024, following the lead of neighboring states such as New Jersey and Maryland, which have already passed legislation to raise pay to $15 per hour within the next several years.

One of the industries that witnessed the most substantial salary rises was health care, where many workers, particularly home health aides and personal care assistants, are underpaid and have a high turnover rate. However, the wage increase had unforeseen ramifications for the healthcare industry, which was already dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and an aging population.

The Effects of the Minimum Wage Increase on Healthcare Workers

According to a report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, a trade group that represents long-term care providers, the minimum wage increase resulted in large layoffs and fewer hours for healthcare workers, as well as greater expenses and worse quality care for patients.

Read more: Massachusetts’s Minimum Wage Increase Causes Massive Health Care Layoffs

The analysis calculated that raising the minimum wage will cost the long-term care industry an additional $1.6 billion in 2024 and $4.5 billion by 2026, with no matching rise in reimbursement rates from the state or federal government. The research also suggested that the wage increase will drive many providers to stop or curtail services, leaving thousands of seniors and handicapped persons without appropriate care.

The study identified various examples of providers that had to lay off workers or reduce hours owing to the pay increase, such as:

  • A nursing facility in Philadelphia laid off 15% of its employees and reduced the hours by another 10%, resulting in less time for resident care and increasing reliance on agency workers.
  • A home health firm in Pittsburgh fired off 20% of its aides and decreased the hours by another 30%, leaving many clients without consistent care and pushing some to relocate to nursing facilities.
  • A Harrisburg-based personal care facility laid off 10% of its personnel and reduced the hours by another 15%, resulting in worse quality care and more complaints from residents and families.

The Response of Health Care Workers and Advocates

The healthcare professionals who were affected by the salary increase voiced irritation and unhappiness with the situation. Many of them stated that they valued their employment and cared about their patients, but they couldn’t afford to work for such little pay. They also claimed that their employers deceived them by undervaluing their work and failing to respect their rights. Some of them formed unions or staged rallies to seek fair pay and improved working conditions.

Also read: Arizona’s Minimum Wage Increase Causes Massive Layoffs for Health Care Workers

Advocates for healthcare workers and patients decried the salary increase as a short-sighted and damaging policy. They said that raising the minimum wage without boosting financing for the healthcare sector would exacerbate the current issues of worker shortages, low-quality treatment, and high turnover rates. They asked state and federal governments to provide support and resources for the healthcare business, which is critical to the well-being of millions of people.


The voluntary minimum wage hike in Georgia, notably in the healthcare sector, has unforeseen repercussions. The Pennsylvania Health Care Association reported significant layoffs, fewer worker hours, increased expenditures, and a reduction in patient care quality.

With the sector expecting an additional $1.6 billion in costs in 2024, healthcare providers struggled to sustain services, raising worries about the health of seniors and handicapped people. Workers and activists voiced dissatisfaction, demanding fair compensation and additional government assistance to solve the ensuing issues in the healthcare industry.

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