Walsh Rallies for Fair Wages For Direct-Care Workers

***Editor’s Note: Click here https://youtu.be/g24CFy-ecYc for Assemblywoman Walsh’s comments.

Today, Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) attended the #bfair2DirectCare rally at the New York State Capitol. The rally included hundreds of direct-care workers and patients from across the state demanding a fair and livable wage. The 2017-18 Enacted Budget included funding to support an overall 3.25 percent average increase of salaries for direct-care staff and direct-support professionals working in eligible state-funded programs. The second phase was added April 1, 2018.

Following the minimum wage increase that occurred January 1, 2019, some direct-care workers may be receiving the same wage unless an increase is added. The Assembly and Senate both agreed on funding for phase 3; however, it will not start until 2020. The Assembly Minority Conference has continuously called for an increase in direct-care wages to be included in the final budget. This year, Gov. Cuomo failed to include funding for a raise in direct-care workers’ wages in his proposed budget. After the rally, the governor vowed to restore direct-care funding that was cut from his original budget proposal. However, there is no guarantee it will be restored until the final budget is passed.

“Direct-care workers are some of the most selfless and hardworking individuals who work tirelessly at improving the quality of life of our disabled community. We currently face a shortage of direct-care workers and that is because of the lack of incentives to enter their field. The job of a direct-care worker requires a great deal of responsibility and should be compensated with more than minimum wage,” said Walsh. “I am proud to stand—in a bipartisan manner—with the hardworking men and women who support the disabled community in calling for an increase in funding towards a fair and livable wage within the final budget.”