Essential During Pandemic, WA Home Caregivers Push for More Hazard Pay
Friday, April 16, 2021
SEATTLE - Home caregivers in Washington are urging the state to extend - and raise - hazard pay for their essential workforce.
Caregivers have received an additional $2.50 per hour since last May because of increased federal funds that have gone to enhanced Medicaid provider rates.
Tynesha Wilson is a home health-care aide with spina bifida. Wilson doesn't have a car and was using public transportation to get to her clients before the pandemic.
She said she's using her hazard pay for Lyft rides to decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to her clients.
"Transporting myself back and forth every day with just one means of another person transporting me versus being on a bus with, like, hundreds of other people every single day," said Wilson.
Some of the increased federal funds were used to buy Personal Protective Equipment as well.
With more federal money coming from the American Rescue Plan Act passed last month, caregivers want Washington lawmakers to extend hazard pay and increase to at least $4, which is comparable to other essential workers.
Adam Glickman is secretary- treasurer for Service Employees International Union 775, which represents home caregivers in Washington. He said it's a low-wage workforce and hazard pay will help retain and recruit workers at a crucial time.
"These workers are continuing to make a choice to risk their own health and their families' health to go out and help seniors and people with disabilities be safe and healthy in their own homes," said Glickman.
Wilson said caregivers brought to people's attention how essential they've been during the pandemic.
"It wasn't just the crisis," said Wilson. "It was the crisis and us also pushing, saying we need to be able to get to our clients. We need to be able to feed our families. We need the money, and the money's there so why not help us?"
SEIU 775 wants lawmakers to extend hazard pay before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 25.
get more stories like this via email
A California group formed after the firestorm that leveled the town of Paradise is stepping up to help Maui recover from its own disaster last month…
Skills for reducing violence are becoming essential in schools. At the beginning of the school year, students at a Washington state high school …
The age-old theory that opposites attract has been debunked. According to analysis of more than 130 traits in a study that included millions of …
A new report questions New York City Mayor Eric Adams' latest budget proposal for dealing with the city's influx of over 110,000 migrants. The cost …
A federal judge has blocked a 2022 Arizona law that voting-rights advocates say would have made it harder for some Native Americans to vote. House …
Thousands of U.S. auto workers remain on strike, and the walkout is being felt in Minnesota. A rally was scheduled this morning in the Twin Cities …
If states like Minnesota are going to meet their climate goals, experts say younger workers will need to step into the roles to make it happen - like …
A new federal jobs program aims to mobilize tens of thousands of young Americans to address the growing threats of climate change. The American …