Home care workers call for passage of ‘Fair Pay for Home Care Act’
BRONX, NY — Home care workers, seniors, and people with disabilities held a rally at the Fordham Bus Plaza in the Bronx on March 12, 2021 in support of the “Fair Pay for Home Care Act,” (S5374) thanking the State Senators who have already supported the bill and urging legislative leadership to include the measure in the state budget. The Fair Pay for Home Care Act, sponsored by Senator Rachel May and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, would raise home care wages to 150% of the minimum wage⎯ allowing home care workers to make at least $35,000 a year on average.

The legislation would end New York’s worst-in-the-nation home care workforce shortage crisis, people with disabilities out of nursing homes, and generate savings for New York State by raising home care salaries out of poverty wages. A new report recently revealed that raising home care worker wages would help fill New York’s massive home care need by bringing 200,000 new home care workers into the field over the next decade, lift over 200,000 home care workers out of poverty wages, and generate $5.3 billion for the New York State economy by saving public spending dollars while generating increased tax revenues and boosting individual spending power.

Research has found that recovering Covid patients have fared far better after discharge to home care, as opposed to nursing homes: one New York study reported that persisting Covid symptoms and functional dependence that were common at the time of home health care admission improved for most patients. Additionally, the Fair Pay for Home Care Act will overwhelmingly improve existing jobs and create new jobs for women and people of color, currently, New York’s care sector is 91% female and 77% people of color. As the country and state wrestle with historic racial injustice, along with the disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color, Fair Pay for Home Care is an investment in equity, and lifting up a historically underpaid workforce.

Median annual earnings for direct care workers in New York State are only $21,300, with 42% of the state’s home care workers living in or near poverty. In order to meet the rising demand and ensure that New York’s seniors and people with disabilities have the care they need to remain in their communities and out of nursing homes, the homecare industry must increase wages. The CUNY report also revealed that higher wages would also attract more workers to the field and ensure that those already in the field seek increased hours, generating $5.4 billion for New York in new income, sale tax revenues and reductions in Medicaid and leading to increased job generation in other sectors.

“Fair Pay for Home Care Act” would also lead to:


* Economic generation: CUNY’s School for Labor and Urban Studies new report found that the Act would generate $5.4 billion for the state economy through new income and sales tax revenue, economic spillover, and reductions in Medicaid and social assistance.


* Job creation during Covid: As New York faces widespread unemployment, the Act would bring 200,000 new home care workers into the field over the next decade and additionally create 180,000 jobs in other sectors and industries via increased spending and economic activity.


* Jobs for women & people of color: The Act will overwhelmingly improve existing jobs and create new jobs for women and people of color: currently, New York’s care sector is 91% female and 77% people of color. As the country and state wrestle with historic racial injustice, along with the disproportionate impact of COVID on communities of color, Fair Pay for Home Care is an investment in equity, and lifting up a historically underpaid workforce.


* Safe nursing home alternative during COVID and beyond: The Act will make seniors and people with disabilities safer. Research has found that recovering COVID patients have fared far better after discharge to home care, as opposed to nursing homes: one New York study reported that persisting COVID symptoms and functional dependence that were common at the time of home health care admission improved for most patients.

The Fair Pay for Home Care Act, backed by the New York Caring Majority, was introduced by State Senator Rachel May and Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, and is co-sponsored in the Senate by State Senator Michael Gianaris, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, State Senator Pete Harckham, State Senator Brad Hoylman, State Senator Robert Jackson, State Senator Mike Martucci, State Senator Shelley Mayer, State Senator Zellnor Myrie, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, State Senator Julia Salazar, State Senator James Skoufis, State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, State Senator Diane Savino, State Senator Kevin Parker, and State Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda.

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