Norris Says Budget Must #Bfair2directcare

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A strong supporter of home health aides, Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,I-Lockport) rallied with direct-care workers and their clients from across the state today outside the governor’s Executive Chamber in the State Capitol today to call for a wage increase as part of this year’s state budget. Though the governor has made comments supporting the wage increase, Norris said nothing is final until the budget is enacted.

“Budgets come down to priorities. A direct-care wage increase should be included in this year’s budget,” said Norris. “The governor and legislative leaders took action to make sure fast food workers’ wages were increased, but when it comes to the home health aides and direct-care workers, Albany has not acted and that is a problem because it sends the message that the state does not value this profession when it should. These workers serve the more vulnerable in our communities and their clients depend on them each and every day. This issue is truly one of fairness.”

Norris has been a vocal supporter of raising the wages for the state’s 210,000 direct-care workers. Though he saw partial success in obtaining some new funds in the 2017-18 State Budget, a loophole at the time prevented the raise from being available to workers for the full year. Norris wants this year’s budget to correct that to ensure there is funding for a permanent raise without any further loopholes or concerns.

Direct-care occupations are some of the fastest growing occupational fields in New York, with the state’s population over age 65 expected to increase by 54 percent in the next decade. A predominantly female industry, direct-care worker positions are also expected to grow by more than 50,000 jobs (twice that of the governor’s recently-failed Amazon deal). In fact, a report by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) said the state’s aging population could result in a need for 100,000 or more new positions.

Norris said, “Not only do we want to support this field and the direct care workers, but we also want to make sure our parents and grandparents, the developmentally disabled, homebound and any New Yorker who needs a home care aide gets the best possible care. How can we pledge that if Albany won’t support them?”