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
Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…
Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …
A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …
In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…
By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …
A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…
New Mexico residents have two weeks to submit written comments to the Environmental Protection Agency about its proposal to implement stronger standar…
As National News Literacy Week comes to an end, one Nevada journalism professor says media professionals need to make building trust with their …