ALBANY, NY – Senator Sue Serino this week joined a virtual rally hosted by the NY Caring Majority in support of the Fair Pay for Home Care Act. The bill, which Senator Serino co-sponsors, would raise the wages of New York’s home care aides in an effort to bolster the workforce and put an end to the homecare worker shortage.
“The pandemic has exposed a glaring shortage of these critical workers, workers who for many aging New Yorkers become more like family, going above and beyond to ensure that those they care for are able to age in place and stay in the homes they know and love longer,” said Senator Serino.
“For the past month or so, I have been helping to care for my mother and mother-in-law, who have been experiencing some health challenges, and I know from experience that caring for our loved ones can be a full time job for many,” Serino continued. “It’s time New York State recognizes how critical our care force is, streamline aging services and make smart investments in the workforce that we know plays a critical role in empowering New Yorkers to age with dignity. That’s why I am proud to co-sponsor the #FairPay4HomeCare Act, and why I won’t stop pushing to ensure our seniors have access to the services they deserve.”
As noted in the bill’s sponsor’s memo, home care workers in New York are among the state’s lowest paid employees, making on average just $22,000 annually, and often relying on public benefits to make ends meet. With New York’s population rapidly aging, it is estimated that New York could be short at least 80,000 home care aids by 2025. The Fair Pay for Home Care Act would set home care wages at 150% of the minimum wage and establish regional minimum reimbursement rates for those who hire aides through Medicaid or managed care plans.
New Yorkers who utilize home care services who spoke out at the virtual rally noted how difficult it is not only to find a qualified aide, but to retain them, with many lamenting the high turnover rates as aides are often forced to leave the field for better paying jobs.
Rally participants, including Senator Serino, want to see the bill included in the final State Budget.
Today, Senator Serino also sent a letter to Governor Hochul requesting immediate support to bolster the state's homecare workforce. A copy of that letter can be found here.
Senator Serino is the Ranking Member of the State Senate’s Aging Committee.