Home care workers in New York received a $2-per-hour raise last year as part of a statewide effort by politicians and advocates to address a home care crisis.
The wage increase took effect on Oct. 1 as part of measures passed earlier this year as part of the state budget process. It occurred after advocates battled for increased compensation for aides to help alleviate home care shortages that affect elderly and disabled New Yorkers, as well as their families. The new minimum wage for home care aides is $17 per hour in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County and $15.20 per hour in the remainder of the state. However, fast food workers in New York have been making $15 an hour since 2021.
A series of Fair Pay for Home Care campaign launches across the state, including ones in New York City, Buffalo, Albany, Newburgh, Ithaca, and Long Island, began this week with a press conference in the Hudson Valley.
According to recent Mercer labor research, New York State has the nation’s worst home care deficit, with low pay being the single most important driving factor. New York is expected to expand by 3% between 2021 and 2040, but the 65+ population will grow by 25%. As a result, the home care crisis is expected to worsen: New York will have over 1 million home care job opportunities by 2028.
Low wages are a nationwide problem. The average home healthcare worker in the U.S. made just $13.02 per hour in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, one in five home healthcare workers lives below the poverty line, according to the New York Times.
Home care professionals allow disabled and elderly Americans to live in the community rather than being institutionalized or placed in a group home. Many of us would be unable to get out of bed without their assistance. Disabled individuals have the right to enjoy their life, and home healthcare providers enable us to do so. We should pay them fairly.
Donovan, Liz, and Muriel Alarcón. “Long Hours, Low Pay, Loneliness and a Booming Industry.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/25/business/home-health-aides-industry.html.
“Home Health and Personal Care Aides : Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm.
“‘Fair Pay for Home Care’ Launches in Hudson Valley.” Hudson Valley Press, Chuck Stewart , 28 Dec. 2022, https://hudsonvalleypress.com/2022/12/28/fair-pay-for-home-care-launches-in-hudson-valley/.
McKay, Morgan. “NY Minimum Wage for Fast Food Workers Raised to $15 per Hour.” Spectrum News , Spectrum News , 1 July 2021, https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/politics/2021/07/02/ny-fast-food-worker-minimum-wage-raised-to–15-per-hour.
Critical issue that is increasing on importance as the need grows. I tend to refer to “elected representatives” versus “politicians”. I think it emphasizes their role in a democracy and their promise to represent their constituents -even if they do not do so! Thank you for writing about this issue!