Healthcare worker with head in hands

It appears New York home care workers may not be getting the raise they wanted after all.

On Tuesday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) released her $216 billion budget proposal, but she did not include the Fair Pay for Home Act, which would boost wages for home care workers to 150% of the state’s minimum wage. New York State Budget Director Robert Mujica said higher caregiver wages were not included in the budget because caregivers paid through the state’s Medicaid program already received a raise when the state’s minimum hourly wage increased to $13.20 at the beginning of January.

During a virtual press conference last week, more than a dozen New York state legislators demanded Hochul include Fair Pay for Home in her budget. They blamed low wages for the caregiver shortage that has left thousands of New Yorkers on waiting lists for home care.

The home care workers weren’t left out of the budget entirely. Hochul called on the state to invest $10 billion in New York’s healthcare industry. That money would include $3,000 retention bonuses for direct care workers as a reward for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.