CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's Cooper University Health Care says it will begin paying a $15 minimum wage at the start of next year.
George Norcross, the Camden-based health system's chairman, said in a statement Tuesday the change would affect roughly 10 percent of the organization's 7,500 employees.
The decision comes as Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the Democrat-controlled Legislature are considering a statewide minimum wage hike to $15 an hour.
Murphy on Tuesday praised Cooper's decision in a statement.
New Jersey's $8.60 minimum wage will go up by 25 cents in January under a requirement that it track with inflation.
Murphy says Cooper is the first hospital system to raise its minimum wage to $15.
Cooper operates a hospital, cancer center and children's hospital. It's a major employer in southern New Jersey.