Fair Pay for Home Care Workers: Easier Said Than Done

April 01, 2022

In January, Gov. Hochul unveiled a proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that departed from many years of tradition in Albany. In general, New Yorkers can count on the budget season beginning with the governor lamenting New York’s declining tax revenues and proposing a restrained budget with more than a few spending reductions. The Legislature then generally counters with a rosier revenue prediction and much more robust spending. Then, on or around April 1 (when the budget is technically due), they meet somewhere in the middle.

This year, however, has been markedly different. For various reasons, including but not limited to an influx of federal funds attributable to COVID relief and a financial impact from the pandemic that’s less damaging than anticipated, the budget proposed by the governor has been hailed as the best (that is, most generous) Executive Budget many legislators have seen over the course of their (often long) careers. Of course, that is not to say that they see no room for improvement.

Nowhere is this clearer than in regard to the health-care workforce that has been so battered by the pandemic. In recognition of the extraordinary burdens placed on these workers over the last two years and the resulting increase in staffing shortages that existed even before COVID, Hochul proposed the payment of one-time bonuses of up to $3,000 for health care and mental hygiene workers with annual salaries less than $100,000, at an expected overall cost of around $1.2 billion.

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