California's Legislature has passed a bill that could raise the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers to $25 per hour 

The bill, known as Senate Bill 525, was introduced by Los Angeles Democratic Senator Maria Elena Durazo and had strong backing from labor unions 

The new minimum wage would apply to various healthcare employees, including direct patient care providers like nurses, physicians, and medical residents 

as well as support staff such as janitors, housekeepers, food service workers, medical billing personnel, and gift shop clerks 

However, there's a catch: workers may have to wait between three and ten years to see the full $25 hourly wage 

Initially, the bill faced opposition from the hospital industry, community clinics, and dialysis centers. But last-minute amendments and agreements helped pave the way for its passage 

The Assembly voted 59-11 in favor of the bill, followed by a Senate vote of 31-9, largely along party lines 

Amendments to the bill introduced a three-tiered phase-in approach, with some workers at government-funded health facilities waiting up to 10 years to reach the full $25 minimum wage 

A waiver program is also set to be established by March to allow health facilities in financial distress to temporarily delay payroll hikes 

The bill's passage came after a deal between labor unions and healthcare industry players, including a four-year moratorium on ballot initiatives and referendums related to healthcare workers 

The legislation aims to strike a balance between significantly improving wages for healthcare workers while considering the financial challenges faced by healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas