Fair pay for home care affects many in New York

Rachel May

May 20, 2022

Sally Johnston has needed home care since her husband died several years ago.

Fair Pay affects home care workers and families throughout New York State. 

Many home care workers have been doing the critical work for minimum wage and some have said it is not even enough to pay for the necessities of life. 

Families in need of a home care work said it’s difficult to find quality help because a worker can go elsewhere and make more money for less demanding work. 

Following the death of her husband seven years ago, Sally Johnston has needed a home care worker for much of the day.

“The home care worker helps me with everything. I need help with getting out of bed, getting into the bathroom,” Sally Johnston said. 

Like many people in New York, Johnston would prefer staying in her home over a long-term care facility. 

Due to low pay for home care workers, it has been difficult to find care.

Through the 2022 state budget, Senator Rachel May was able to secure a $3 raise over the next two years for home care workers.

“Many of them make minimum wage. The purpose of our campaign was to get home care workers a living wage,” Senator Rachel May said.  

With an expected increase in minimum wage, these workers would eventually make $18 an hour. 

“We will continue to ask for more, but for now we hope that will make a difference to bring more people into the field,” May said. 

The state will spend nearly $8 billion over the next four years, representing one of the single largest investments in home care wages.

For Sally, she has now had the same home care worker for more than a year, allowing her to stay in a place that’s familiar and comfortable. 

“This is my home. My husband and I made this our home and everything I have in my lifetime is here. I’m comfortable. I love being here,” Johnston said.