“Fair Pay for Home Care” Launches in Hudson Valley

NEWBURGH – State Senator-elect Rob Rolison (R) and State Senator James Skoufis (D), with Assembly Members Jonathan Jacobson (D), Aileen Gunther (D) and Karl Brabenec (R), Deputy Supervisor/Councilman Scott Manley (R), Ulster County Legislator Phil Erner (D), City of Newburgh Council Member Giselle Martinez (D), Assemblymember-elect Chris Eachus (D), aging adults, disabled New Yorkers, home care workers, and advocates this week launched the Fair Pay for Home Care Campaign to end the New York’s worst-in-the-nation home care shortage by raising home care wages to 150% of the minimum wage by passing Fair Pay for Home Care (S5374, A6329).

The Hudson Valley press conference this week kicked off a series of Fair Pay for Home Care campaign launches across the state, including launches in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, Newburgh, Ithaca, and Long Island.

“Our elderly and disabled Hudson Valley residents depend on their home-care aides to help them live independent and dignified lives as productive members of society. New York has the worst home-care shortage in the country. That’s why I’m standing with Fair Pay for Home Care advocates to support better pay,” said State Senator-elect Rob Rolison (R).

“Every New Yorker has a right to live a life full of dignity, in place and at home. While we were able to accomplish a $3 per hour pay raise for home care workers earlier this year, there’s so much more the state needs to do to ensure fair, livable wages for our workforce. I’ll continue to be on the front lines with Caring Majority and home care advocates as we build on our meaningful progress,” said State Senator James Skoufis (D).

“Caring for vulnerable members of our community is difficult, backbreaking work that requires real dedication. So while we recently passed a $3/hour increase, it’s simply not enough when fast-food jobs are paying a comparable wage. We can and must do more and I am confident that we will do so in the upcoming legislative session,” said Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson (D).

“The home care workers in New York State need to finally earn a fair wage for the vital work that they do,” Gunther said. They have been struggling with extreme workforce shortages due to low wages and rising fuel, food, and other operations costs. “Our home health system and home care workers provide crucial services to the New Yorkers who need it most, it is only fair that we pay them a fair, living wage to ensure they can care for their families as well as ours,” said Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D). “I want to make sure that everyone in Albany and throughout New York State recognizes how important it is to pay these professionals a living wage. Today, the majority are paid at or just slightly above the minimum wage, while earning less than the legally required minimum wage for the fast-food sector. Yet they are providing such critical care and working hard to take care of our families. I’m hopeful this acknowledgement will lead to a further increase in funding to create a more robust system and to protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents.”

“Throughout the pandemic and long before, many families have relied on home care workers to provide the essential support that so few are willing to give,” Brabenec said.

“Today, we are continuing the push to get these workers a pay level that they deserve. The economy continues to pummel hardships against its people, and it’s only right that the state government starts giving back and supporting those who do so much for us and our families statewide,” said Assemblymember Karl Barbenec (R).

“Aides do a lot for their clients, they deserve a living wage, we need to make being an aide a career goal, not a stepping stone to other jobs. We are relying on them to take care of our family members, we need to take care of them,” said Deputy Town Supervisor Manley (R).

According to a recent Mercer labor analysis, New York State faces the worst home care shortage in the nation, and low wages are the single largest driving factor. Between 2021-2040, NYS is projected to grow by 3% — but the 65+ population will grow by 25%. As a result, the home care shortage is projected to increase exponentially: New York will have nearly 1 million job openings in home care by 2028.

Fair Pay for Home Care would benefit New York economically, increase equity, and keep seniors and disabled people safe:

* If passed, the state would see increased revenue totaling $5.4 billion through job creation and moving home care workers off of social assistance.

* New York’s home care workforce is 91% female and 77% people of color; Fair Pay for Home Care would create over a quarter of a million new jobs for women, including 181,000 new jobs for women of color, over the next decade.

* Fair Pay for Home Care would move home care workers out of poverty: facing low pay and irregular hours, 57% of New York State home care workers currently receive public assistance, and 49% live in or near poverty.

* Research has found that recovering Covid patients have fared far better in home care than nursing homes.

About the New York Caring Majority: The New York Caring Majority is a coalition of organizations including Hand in Hand, Cooperative Homecare Associates, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NY State, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Chinese American Planning Council, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and others who advocate for seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and domestic and homecare workers in the state of New York.

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