Direct Care Professionals Earn Wage Increase In The State Budget

Apr 6, 2017

Workers rally for a wage increase for Direct Care Professionals in Fall 2016.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Direct Care Professionals in Central New York who provide support to the developmentally disabled could have a significant wage increase on the horizon for the first time in 8 years.  Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to include $55 million dollars in the state budget to raise their wages.  Access CNY Director Paul Joslyn says the money will go a long way to deliver the extra money his employees deserve for their dedication to very difficult work.

“Up until now we hadn’t had the funding to maintain a gap over minimum wage, but this initial living wage will start that to bring us back to a fairer gap, if you will.”  

Joslyn says Direct Care Professionals work hard to help New York State’s more than 125,000 disabled patients.  He’s optimistic that the wage increases will help tackle the job turnover rate to maintain those kinds of relationships.

Direct Care representatives gathered at a rally in Fall 2016 in hopes of raising wages.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

“You support people with a developmental disability or any disability. You make a really strong personal connection with them," Joslyn said. "That’s really needed to do the job in a really person-centered, meaningful way. So that turnover really impacts that relationship, so it is perhaps the most important key to doing what we do.” 

He adds that he is equally excited to be able to reward the people that have stayed loyal to their patients over the years, despite having to make sacrifices.

“It’s a very rewarding profession. People make connections with people, and the people who enter the profession really want to help people who have a disability," Joslyn said. "The folks that have continued to work in the field, even by taking second or third jobs to make sure that they can afford to do so, it’s great for them to be rewarded.”

The ‘Be Fair to Direct Care’ campaign includes an extra $10 million earmarked for agencies who work with mental health and substance abuse victims, as well. 

GOV. CUOMO AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERS CLOSER TO AGREEMENT

The Associated Press reported that a deal on the New York State budget could be close to resolve the current impasse. The Assembly continued working following the exit of the Capitol by the Senate on Wednesday night. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says a resolution may occur if the Senate approves what the deal the Assembly has reached.