THE IMPORTANCE OF 'FAIR PAY FOR HOME CARE' FOR CONSUMERS AND EMPLOYEES

By Erin Vallely, ATI Advocacy Specialist

February 24, 2022

 

Introduction

Like many seniors and disabled / chronically ill individuals, I rely on other people to help me get in and out of bed, dressed, go to the bathroom, get to work, cook, and clean.  Right now, I live in the community because my parents can provide the help that I need. However, if something happens to them, I will likely be forced into a nursing home unless I can hire enough staff.  

Demand and Workforce Shortage

According to a report by the Senate Committees on Aging, Health, and Labor, over half of New Yorkers 65+ years old will need long-term care in their lifetime, as well as over a million disabled / chronically ill residents.  Based on population trends, 700,000 home health care workers will be needed by 2028 as the baby boom generation ages. With as many as 74% of New Yorkers already struggling to find the help they need, the home care worker shortage will worsen in the coming years.  

Low wages are a primary reason people leave, or do not enter, the home care work force.  As many as 50% of home care workers leave the field because of low pay and another 54% are covered by Medicaid and/or receive other public assistance. Most workers can find better financial security by taking fast food or retail jobs.  These high turnover rates are connected to lower quality care, trouble finding care, and increased use of expensive nursing home care.  


Fair Pay for Home Care Bill

However, advocates and government representatives are working to improve the situation.  If the Fair Pay for Home Care bill is included in New York’s upcoming state budget, all home care workers’ wages would increase to at least 150% of the local minimum wage on January 1st, 2023.  For upstate New York home care workers, pay would first increase to about $20 an hour, then jump to $22 an hour once the minimum wage increases to $15 an hour.  

While this policy will require an investment in wages, it would actually save the state, and taxpayers, money by reducing public assistance costs, and increasing workers spending money.  Additionally, the economy will benefit from more people living in the community rather than in an institution.  Lastly, and most importantly, individuals who receive home care services will be able to have control over their own lives and continue to participate in society.  


Get Involved!

If you would like to share your thoughts on Fair Pay for Home Care, you can do so in multiple ways.   

  • Visit https://openstates.org/ to find your state representatives and contact information – you can write them an email, letter, or call them 
  • Submit Letters to the Editor and opinion articles to the  
  • Cortland Standard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Cortland Voice at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Homer News at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   
  • Share your home care story at https://www.nycaringmajority.org/shareyourstory  
  • Post about it on social media using the hashtags #FairPay4HomeCare and #HomeCareIsHealthCare and don’t forget to tag @GovKathyHochul, and your local representatives 

If you would like to participate in these advocacy opportunities but need help, please do not hesitate to contact Erin Vallely at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She can help you figure out how to share your thoughts about this bill.