Advocates: Fair pay needed for home health care workers amid shortage
Caring for an aging family member at home is getting more difficult in Westchester and the Hudson Valley due to a shortage of home health care workers due to wage issues.
Currently, most home health care workers get paid minimum wage, about $12.50 an hour. They don't have benefits or paid sick leave.
Advocates are hoping the state Senate and Assembly will pass the "Fair Pay For Home Care Act" in Albany. It will help those who care for the elderly and people with disabilities get a living wage. On Monday, leaders from Westchester and the Hudson Valley on both sides of the aisle held a roundtable meeting via Zoom to discuss the issue.
The Fair Pay bill would raise wages for workers to at least $22.50 an hour in New York state. Many are hoping it will be passed in next year's state budget.
"It is something we have to change,” says state Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D-46th District). “We have to support the workers who are doing these incredibly difficult and often draining jobs…Who do it for the love of caring for others.”
Health care advocates say there is a shortage of about 25,000 workers. They say it could grow to 80,000 by 2025 if nothing is done.