WHAT IS GOING ON?
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, a hazard pay wage increase of $2 per hour was approved for direct care workers in recognition of their heroism and sacrifice in continuing to serve our most vulnerable residents during this unprecedented health emergency. This wage increase is set to expire on 2/28/21. Governor Whitmer has included making the $2 increase permanent in her budget but it still has to pass through the legislature. We are advocating to make this wage increase permanent to address the long-standing staffing crisis created by low wages and high turnover among direct care workers.
ABOUT THE ISSUE
There is a direct caregiver staffing crisis in Michigan’s public mental health system.
• People with developmental disabilities or mental illness rely on direct care workers for essential supports which enable them to access their community, work, and live full, meaningful lives.
• Inadequate wages have created a critical direct care shortage.
• Turnover rates average 37%. Some providers have been forced to discontinue services.
• Direct care starting wages, which are tied to Medicaid funding, are too low. Service providers cannot compete with other businesses that hire at the same level, often with fewer work demands.
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL your state representative and state senator.
ASK THEM to make permanent the $2 hour wage increase for direct care workers.
EXPLAIN that a staff wage increase advances the objectives of improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and increasing their access to supports and services
SHARE your story: how the staffing crisis negatively affects you, as a person receiving services, family member, direct care worker or service provider. Here is a survey from the University of Minnesota detailing the effects of the pandemic on an already dire crisis.
The time to contact your legislators is now!
Find your state representative here:
Find your state senator here: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html