For Immediate Release: February 7, 2021

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Ahead of Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Health, Fair Pay for Home Care Act reaches 76 Democratic Assembly sponsors

NEW YORK — The Fair Pay for Home Care Act (S5374, A6329) today reached a Democratic Majority in the Assembly with 77 Democratic Assembly sponsors. In January, the Act reached a Democratic Majority in the State Senate as well. Additionally, the Act has bipartisan support with seven Republican Assembly sponsors and five Republican State Senate sponsors, and is supported by 1199 and AARP. New York State currently faces the worst home care shortage in the nation due to poverty wages and an aging population. The Fair Pay for Home Care Act would lift home care wages and wipe out the home care shortage within five years. In her State of the State, Hochul announced her goal to end the healthcare worker shortage — however, she has not pledged any wage increases for home care workers.

Assembly: 77 Democratic Sponsors, 7 Republican Sponsors, 84 Total Sponsors

The newest Democratic Assembly sponsors are: Chantell Jackson (D), David Weprin (D), Nily Rozic (D), Edward Braunstein (D), William Colton (D), and Deborah Glick (D).

Senate: 34 Democratic Sponsors, 5 Republican Sponsors, 39 Total Sponsors

The newest State Senate Sponsors are State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D) and State Senator Pam Helming (R).

“Home care is about freedom, independence, and choice. It’s about dignity. But when you have a system of people making minimum wage - in fact, in Upstate as of July 1st the minimum wage for home care is lower than for fast food workers - that shows we are not valuing this essential work the way we should be. It's critical to provide the freedom for people to stay out of nursing homes. The Fair Pay for Home Care bill would attract more people to the workforce and allow people the ability to stay in their homes,” said State Senator Rachel May, Lead Sponsor of the Fair Pay for Home Care Act.

“There is a real shortage of home care workers because more and more people can't go into that line of work. We need to enact fair pay for home care so home care workers can be adequately paid, so people can get the care they need without either having to go into a nursing home or forcing a member of the family to give up their career,” said Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, Lead Sponsor of the Fair Pay for Home Care Act.

“Home care aides are some of the lowest paid workers in the state, which is unconscionable when you consider the invaluable service they provide. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation and I applaud the New York Caring Majority in their efforts in championing this cause,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

"Home care aides are dedicated, selfless and hardworking professionals who devote their lives to the care, well-being, and dignity of others. They provide critical support, comfort, compassion, and peace of mind for the people they care for, and for their families. I am grateful for their work and am proud to co-sponsor this legislation,” said State Senator Pam Helming.

“Home care workers are essential to the health and welfare of many New Yorkers, ensuring that these caring and hard-working people are paid fairly is a critical step in ensuring access to services. This bill will help address the workforce shortage that is negatively impacting many of our family members, friends, and neighbors. Giving home care workers a fair wage will allow many to remain in their homes and give them access to critical services and I am proud to support this legislation,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick.

“It makes no sense to pay minimum wage to those we entrust the care of our parents. Fair pay for our home care workers will resolve a critical shortage, reduce the need for the state to pay for nursing home care, as well as for the state to pay for benefits due to such low wages being paid for our home care workers,” said Assemblymember William Colton.

“Providing fair pay for home care is a powerful way to show our moral commitment to older adults. It’s also a necessary part of establishing a society that truly values care in everyday life, and an economy that treats care-providing work as an essential sector of a sustainable economy. That’s why Jews for Racial & Economic Justice supports legislative efforts to ensure everyone has the care and support they need to live full, healthy lives,” said Rachel McCullough, Political Director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ).

“We represent over 60,000 home care workers in New York State. We are fighting here in New York State to make sure that people have a right to live independently in their homes; people with disabilities, our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents. Home care workers save lives. But They cannot be home care workers if they cannot pay their rent,” said 1199 Executive Vice President Rona Shapiro. “If you want your loved ones to be taken care of, if you don’t want to be sent to a nursing home, pay the workers what they deserve.”

“The association on aging in New York fully supports fair pay for home care, as for far too long direct care workers have been underpaid for the vital services they provide. Home and community based services are paramount to aging in place, and older New Yorkers deserve to live with dignity and autonomy,” said Executive Director of the Association on Aging in NY Becky Preve.

AARP New York State Legislative Representative Bill Ferris said, “The vast majority of New Yorkers who need long-term care want to remain in their own homes, and home care is often less expensive than a nursing home. AARP New York supports fair wages for home care workers because it would be right for the workers, right for care recipients and their family caregivers by alleviating worker shortages and ensuring care is available, and right for taxpayers by saving the long-term care system money.”

Low wages are the single largest driving factor causing New York’s worst-in-the-nation home care shortage. With New York’s 65+ population slated to grow 25% in the next 20 years, the current workforce shortage is projected to increase exponentially: New York will have more than 600,000 home care job openings by 2026. Additionally, research has found that recovering Covid patients have fared far better in home care than nursing homes. If passed, the state would see increased revenue totaling $5.4 billion through job creation and moving home care workers off of social assistance like Medicaid and food assistance.

About the New York Caring Majority: The New York Caring Majority is a coalition of organizations including Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Hand in Hand, Cooperative Homecare Associates, Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of NY State, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and others who advocate for seniors, people with disabilities, family caregivers, and domestic and homecare workers in the state of New York.