Massachusetts Home Health Workers Win Wage Hike to $15 Per Hour
In the wake of national advocacy to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour across all labor sectors, home health workers who provide care for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as the clients they serve, have been at the forefront of low-paid workers’ demands for increased wages and improved labor protections. Last year, Seattle became the first major city to set $15 as the minimum wage. In Massachusetts, after five months of negotiations between union members and Governor Charlie Baker, the state made a deal with Service Employees International Local Union 1199 to raise the starting wage for personal care attendants and other home health care workers from $13.38 to $15. Workers covered under the agreement provide services funded under Medicaid. The wage increases for home health workers can help ensure a more stable and long-term workforce by reducing turnover and making home health work more financially feasible for entry-level workers. A larger and more stable workforce could help people with disabilities, who rely on home health care services, to maintain the level of care they need to keep their own employment.