Sentara ‘raises’ up healthcare workers with $110 million in pay increases, another $15 million in benefit enhancements

Published 11:05 pm Monday, February 14, 2022

Sentara Healthcare has announced it will offer employees $110 million in pay increases and $15 million in benefit enhancements in 2022.

Beginning March 17, eligible Sentara employees up to and including the director level will receive a 5% market pay increase, the second market adjustment Sentara has made in less than a year.

Sentara employees will also be eligible for a merit increase in May. The combined increase of 8-9% (market and merit) in 2022 will affect more than 96% of Sentara’s 29,000 colleagues.

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“Investing in our people is always a top priority and in line with our mission to improve health every day. I am grateful for their dedication and have been humbled to witness the resilience they’ve shown over the last two years,” said Sentara President and CEO Howard P. Kern in a statement. “These important enhancements will support our people today and into the future as we work together to care for our employees, patients, health plan members and local communities.”

Sentara previously gave out monetary appreciation gifts in April and December 2021 of up to $3,500 total per team member to recognize their service during the COVID-19 pandemic, also raising starting pay to $15 per hour. Employees also received market and merit increases last May of up to 8%, valued at more than $50 million.

Employees will also have additional and enhanced benefits in 2022. They will receive, effective Jan. 1, access to reimbursement programs to assist with adoption expenses, infertility care expenses and surrogacy and gestational carrier expenses.

In the coming months, Sentara will make additional benefits available to all full- and part-time employees, including increased paid time off, paid parental leave, short term disability eligibility at seven days, enhanced sick time eligibility, additional support for family caregivers and increased tuition reimbursement to support career advancement.

In 2021, Sentara invested more than $185 million in team member compensation increases, appreciation gifts and other COVID-related compensation programs. Combined with the raises and benefit enhancements that have been announced, the system’s added contributions in 2021 and 2022 will be more than $310 million.

“At Sentara, we believe in our people and are proud to be an employer of choice in the communities we serve,” said Sentara Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Becky Sawyer. “We continually evaluate our compensation and benefits programs to ensure they reflect team members’ needs, contributions and changes in our markets. Investing in salaries and innovative benefits is essential in attracting and retaining the best talent and providing the care our patients and health plan members deserve.”