New York has been on the forefront of pushing through legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage up to $15. While a major difference between New York and California, for example, has been the key focus on fast food and other ‘low wage’ workers, it appears that home care providers, most notably home care aides, will be left behind, at least for a while.
In other words, when the minimum wage is completely raised to $15 over the next few years, fast food workers will potentially be earning more than some rural based home care aides and other care providers. The majority of the state is considered rural, even though many immediately think of New York City as being the bulk of the state. That means there will be potentially thousands upon thousands of these in home care workers still not earning minimum wage, or enough to attract more workers.
On top of this issue is the fact that few people are looking for work in this industry, even though across the country it is the number one job creator. With low wages, high stress, and high physical demands, it offers little in the way of attraction for low skilled workers. When one combines those factors along with the prospect of earning more money per hour at a fast food restaurant, agencies and those in need may find it difficult to get the care they need.
In an opinion piece by Luke Parsnow entitled, Financial Aid Inevitable For Home Health Care Aides, the author stated:
“If the governor wants an eventual $15 wage for everyone, he should start with those people. The workers and their employers need and deserve the $45 million that should be included in this year’s budget that would raise their wages. Heck, Cuomo has proposed half that amount to upgrade the state’s ski areas.
There is little argument otherwise, because there is no alternative. If the current trends continue, it will leave our elderly and disabled further neglected, which in some cases will force their relatives to take over caring for them — if they even have any family members that can.”
When one considers the dramatic push to raise wages and the struggle for agencies to find workers in these rural regions now, there’s little doubt the state will have to step up financially to help attract these workers. If it doesn’t, there could be hundreds and even thousands of men and women turning to other means to get support, which is going to cost the state even more.