“Taking Care of Caretakers” lays out wage increases resulting in $330 million in public assistance savings for the state, economic growth and less worker turnover
Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, and State Senator Diane Savino joined George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU, at a rally for a $15 minimum wage on Thursday, and released, “Taking Care of our Caretakers,” a report laying out the IDC’s proposal to raise the wage for home health aides, direct care workers and personal care aides.
The report highlights how raising the minimum wage for caretakers would result in $330 million in public assistance savings to the state and $535 million in economic growth. Workers would see an average of $5,000 in additional pay per year, as well as an addition of up to 4,200 new jobs across the state.
“Home and healthcare workers are the people we turn to when we need to care for our mothers, fathers and grandparents. However, while these workers are ensuring that our loved ones’ health needs are met, their own financial health is ailing. As “Taking Care of Our Caretakers” shows, raising home and healthcare worker wages to $15 per hour will do more than just raise the wage — it will raise up New York’s economy, save the state and local municipalities $330 million in public assistance funding, and halt the high turnover of workers in this critically important field. This is our opportunity to lift these workers out of poverty-level wages by putting an additional $5,000 in workers’ pockets, and to provide a better quality-of-life for those that we trust to care for our most vulnerable. Let’s care for our caretakers and fight for $15,” said Senator Klein.
“It is unconscionable to think that those who we entrust with the care of our loved ones must struggle to make ends meet for themselves and their own loved ones. While cost of living continues to rise, $11 an hour is not going to pay the bills. No person should have to juggle extra jobs while working full-time in the healthcare industry. That is why Senator Klein and I are committed to fighting for this raise in Albany, so that home and health care workers receive the pay they need to be able to stay in their jobs and support their families,” said Senator Savino.
“Homecare, direct care and all New York healthcare workers thank Senators Klein and Savino and the Independent Democratic Conference for their support. Homecare workers perform all the vital duties that allow patients to live in their own homes – they lift them out of bed, make sure they take their medicine, bathe and dress them. Yet most homecare workers only make around $10 an hour and are forced to rely on public assistance. It is a moral travesty that 30% of New York homecare workers are on food stamps. That’s why we’re fighting for the $15 minimum wage so homecare, healthcare and all working New Yorkers have dignity, security and a better future for their children,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham.
“Taking Care of Our Caretakers,” details the 274,548 home and healthcare workers who would see an increase in gross wages by a total of $2.287 billion, with a net gain in wages of $1.372 billion dollars. For home health aides, the average net gain would be $5,304, while personal care aides would gain an average of $4,649.
These raised wages would be reflected in overall economic growth, as workers would most likely spend their new wages on needs or expenses they had been previously unable to afford. The result would be increased consumer spending and a rise in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of an estimated $312 million to $535 million, annually.
Higher wages for these workers would also result in higher income tax revenues for the state — to the tune of $97 million to $101.7 million. The higher hourly wage would additionally lower the number of individuals eligible for a number of public assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, ultimately saving the state approximately $330 million.
Additionally, higher wages would result in lower worker turnover rates. In an industry known for its high worker turnover, keeping workers in their current roles for longer means more consistent care for patients, and better overall care for those most vulnerable.