Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced that the SFY 2017-18 Budget agreement includes funding that will help ensure direct care workers are paid fair, competitive wages so that New Yorkers can continue to receive the critical care and services they need.
"Direct care workers perform demanding jobs and often work long hours providing care for individuals with developmental disabilities and those struggling with mental health or substance use disorders," said Speaker Heastie. "This budget will ensure that these professionals are fairly compensated for the essential care that they provide. I would like to thank Assemblymember Aileen Gunther and all of my Assembly colleagues, as well as former Assemblymember Harvey Weisenberg, for their tireless advocacy and commitment to securing the highest quality care for those who need it most."
The state's approved spending plan provides $160 million over two years to support two 3.25 percent wage increases (a total of 6.5 percent over two years) for direct support professionals. Under the proposal, on January 1, 2018, direct care and direct support staff will receive a 3.25 percent pay increase. Direct care, direct support staff, and clinical staff will receive another 3.25 percent increase on April 1, 2018 to ensure that these critical workers receive wages above the minimum wage.
"The support that direct care workers provide is essential to the daily lives of countless New Yorkers," said Assemblymember Aileen Gunther, chair of the Mental Health Committee. "In order to recruit and retain qualified professionals that can continue to provide these vital services, we must ensure that they are paid wages that compensate them appropriately for their hard work. This budget recognizes that need and offers a meaningful solution."
"Too many communities across the nation are battling the debilitating disease of heroin, opioid and alcohol addiction, and New York State residents are no exception. They need access to expanded drug treatment options now," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee. "The professionals who provide drug treatment services are critically important, and it is absolutely essential that they be paid a living wage. It is gratifying that in this budget, their hard work will be recognized and rewarded with an increase in compensation."
"Direct care workers provide critical services to New Yorkers living with disabilities," said Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, chair of the Health Committee. "These professionals help individuals live healthier and more independent lives. We must ensure that they are fairly compensated for the care they provide."
The supplemental wage increases will benefit direct care professionals supported by the State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health and the Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.