Mayor Bill de Blasio today held public hearings for and signed 10 pieces of legislation. Among the legislation signed were Intros. 1081-0A and 1084-A, two bills which will expand labor policy efforts to support caregivers.
“Intros. 1081-A and 1084-A allow us to address the needs of some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers – paid and unpaid caregivers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By requiring the Department for the Aging to develop and conduct a survey of unpaid caregivers, and by establishing a new Division of Paid Care, we will work to identify the needs of some of the most vital members of New York City’s workforce. I’d like to thank Council Members Chin and Cohen for sponsoring these bills, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for her leadership.”
“From supporting New York City’s vulnerable caregivers, to helping the formerly incarcerated, to ensuring all New Yorkers are educated on consumer protection laws, this City Council is committed to uplifting all residents across the five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Mark-Viverito. “This package of legislation will help pinpoint needs and provide resources to New Yorkers who have historically been marginalized and underserved, and I thank my Council colleagues and the Mayor for supporting these bills.”
“Every day, more than 1.3 million unpaid caregivers work hard to alleviate pain and prolong quality of life for family members, friends and neighbors of all ages. For too long, these caregivers have performed important tasks for people with Alzheimer’s, disabilities, and other care-intensive medical conditions without adequate support,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “This legislation requires our City to survey unpaid caregivers so that we can provide more services for these unsung heroes of our healthcare system – many of whom are women who struggle to manage work and family responsibilities. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Rose for their advocacy on behalf of unpaid caregivers throughout our City.”
The first bill, Intro. 1081-A, requires the Department for the Aging to develop and conduct a survey of unpaid caregivers. As a result of the survey, DFTA will submit a plan on how to address the needs of unpaid caregivers, and will report on progress made in accordance with that plan. This report will be updated every five years.
“Nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spends 41 hours or more each week providing care, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP – and many of them don’t self-identify as caregivers. If paid, their work would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado. “Supporting these caregivers is not only a moral imperative, but an economic one as well.”
The second bill, Intro. 1084-A, establishes a new Division of Paid Care within the Department of Consumer Affairs' Office of Labor Policy and Standards. The Division will focus on the needs of paid caregivers, such as domestic workers and home health aides, who are often women and immigrants, and are in need of a trusted resource and specialized education efforts. The Division will be responsible for assisting the Director of the Office of Labor Standards with developing policies and programs that apply to paid care workers; conducting public outreach and information campaigns for paid care workers, employers, and care recipients; engaging in and promoting research on the paid care industry; and coordinating with appropriate stakeholders to provide development programming and training. This will expand upon the Administration’s labor policy and enforcement work and will, for the first time ever, establish a dedicated City resource to addressing the specific needs of paid caregivers, who are among the most vulnerable members of New York City’s labor force.
“Through our enforcement of New York City’s Paid Sick Leave Law over the last two years, we have seen that workers in lower-wage industries, such as home health aides and other paid care workers, often are not afforded important protections to which they are legally entitled. These workers are in particular need of a trusted resource and specialized education about their rights,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor and Speaker Mark-Viverito, paid care workers will now have one place where they can learn about these rights, as well as about how and where to seek assistance. Both the establishment of the Division of Paid Care and the passage of legislation requiring DCA to develop and distribute consumer protection materials specifically targeted towards immigrants, women, and seniors demonstrates the Council’s commitment to helping the agency fulfill our mission to educate and empower all New Yorkers in the marketplace – be they consumers or working families.”
"The creation of a Division of Paid Care with a coordinator and an advocate within the Office of Labor Standards will empower paid care workers against the risk of exploitation and abuse. The individuals who care for our most vulnerable populations are often the most hard-working, underpaid and compassionate people in our society. The services they provide are vital, even so far as to take care of another's basic human needs when he or she is unable to. This division will protect the ones who look out for our children and home-bound loved ones from being taken advantage of," said Council Member Andrew Cohen.