SAINT PAUL – The Minnesota House is planning to bring to the floor Thursday a bill that would increase wages and benefits for home care workers who care for Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities so they can stay safely in their homes.
Right now there is a care crisis where there aren’t enough care workers for everyone who needs one because of the low wages and lack of benefits for this critical work. Article 4 of HF1507 would increase rates for home care budgets by 15% during the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure Minnesotans are able to be safe and healthy in their homes.
Before the vote, Saint Paul home care client Brittanie Wilson shared why this increase would be so helpful to people with disabilities and seniors across the state who rely on home care workers to stay safely in their homes.
“An increase in wages during this crucial time would have a huge impact on this industry – not only for PCAs, but for clients too,” said Wilson. “Higher wages would allow me to retain and recruit more staff. I’m relying more and more on these critical services in order to stay home.”
In addition to the wage increase that would come from this bill, home care workers also are calling out for more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep themselves and their clients safe. Dawn Burnfin, a PCA in Chisholm, shared why these changes are so important to ensure the health and safety of care workers and their clients.
“I’ve shopped several times for my client in the past month so they can stay safe at home,” said Burnfin, “but I just learned this week that employees at that store have tested positive for COVID-19. PPE isn’t being provided by agencies, and I can’t find any in stores or online. How can I keep my client safe if I can’t even protect myself?”
Similar language has had bipartisan support in both the House (HF164) and Senate (SF3694) as it has moved through committees, showcasing how important this issue is to thousands of Minnesotans.
“As we’re seeing the death tolls rise in hospitals and nursing homes, it’s good to see both parties come together and finally recognize just how vital our work is to our communities,” continued Burnfin.
The Senate Rules & Administration Committee waived deadlines for SF3694 and it is now in the Senate Finance Committee.