We are asking Gov. Inslee and the legislature to increase wages for all long-term care workers to at least $20 an hour, because it shouldn’t take a pandemic for essential workers to be paid a living wage. It’s time for $20!
Since May 2020, wages for home care workers have been temporarily increased by roughly $2.50/hour, lifting tens of thousands of caregivers out of poverty, stabilizing the workforce during these difficult times, and keeping home care workers in the field caring for and protecting our most vulnerable residents. But home care workers – mostly women and disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and women of color and immigrants – need to earn a living wage all the time, not just during a pandemic. Unless the Governor and the Washington State legislature take action, home care workers will see a pay cut of roughly 15% on January 1, 2022 – throwing them back into poverty and making it even harder for clients and agencies to recruit and retain caregivers.
Most nursing home workers did not see wage increases and too many do not have access to affordable health insurance, despite facing some of the most dangerous working conditions during the pandemic. Now, nursing homes that faced a pre-pandemic staffing shortages are in a full-blown staffing crisis. Certified Nursing Assistants, housekeepers, dietary staff who risk their lives to care for vulnerable residents are mostly women and disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and women of color and immigrants. These workers need to earn a living wage too.
We urge you to act and increase wages for all long-term care workers – in-home caregivers and nursing home workers – to at least $20 an hour. This will ensure these essential workers earn a living wage and can support their families, while helping to recruit and retain the caregivers needed to support seniors and people with disabilities.