A coalition of organizations that includes the politically powerful 1199, along with Democratic state lawmakers, urged Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday to back a pay raise for home care workers as the state budget season begins to take shape.
The effort comes as Hochul last week in her address to state lawmakers called for a pay raise for the state's health care workers with the goal of boosting employees in the sector by 20% in the next five years.
But at issue for home care workers has been an even more acute shorage that advocates have blamed on low wages. State Sen. Rachel May released a report finding 60% of open health care jobs are in the home care sector.
“New York State is facing a dire shortage in home care workers because we are paying these professionals poverty-level wages, forcing individuals who love their work to leave the caregiving industry for jobs that pay more," said Sen. Michelle Hinchey. "These are the people who ensure that our aging and disabled family members can live comfortably and with dignity in their homes and communities — and they deserve the respect of a fair and living wage."
One of the primary concerns is the state's aging population, which has led to concerns over whether there will be enough workers to provide care to elderly people in the coming years.
“New York’s population is aging quickly which is why we must work to ensure that our elders have the resources and support they deserve today," said Sen. Samra Brouk, a Democrat from Rochester. "For those aging at home, a well-staffed, quality home care workforce is critical. Home care workers care for our aging parents and grandparents, and must be paid appropriately for the critical work they do."