Home care is not minimum wage work – Daily Freeman

Home care is not minimum wage work – Daily Freeman

Dear Editor,

Last year, home care advocates won a hard-fought battle to gain a $3-per-hour increase above minimum wage. I was astonished to learn that Gov. Kathy Hochul’s intention is to freeze home care wages until the minimum wage catches up. And then, their pay would only rise as the minimum wage does. Astonished is not an overstatement.

The governor is cynically double-crossing workers who preserve the dignity of our elders and people with disabilities. I write as someone whose 93-year-old mother has home care help for two hours every morning. These steadfast caregivers are her lifeline. They put Mom first and she loves them as her own. Only when asked directly will they speak about their struggle on low wages. Not only are they empty-handed at the end of the week’s earnings, they fall further behind every year.

I cannot overstate their value to my sister and myself. Because Mom is at ease when we arrive, we can better enjoy our time with her.

Home care is health care, not minimum wage work. These workers need to earn a fair, living wage. Last year’s $3 an hour increase was only a start. The bipartisan Fair Pay for Home Care Act would set home care worker wages at 150% of the minimum wage. That is what’s needed — not Gov. Hochul’s cynical rollback!

I urge your readers to contact their state senator and assemblymember, and Governor Hochul, to support Fair Pay for Home Care. Please do it today.

Mike Atkin,

Kingston, N.Y.

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