Doctor placing money in his pocket

After months of wrangling in Albany, New York home health aides are receiving bonuses and pay raises. On Thursday, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and state lawmakers agreed on a $220 billion budget that includes $1.2 billion in bonuses for frontline healthcare workers and a $3 hourly wage bump for home health aides.

“We know how critically important [home health aides] are to families and to their sense of security,” Hochul said in announcing the budget agreement. “We will provide $7.4 billion to support a $3 wage increase for home healthcare aides and that’s only the beginning.” 

New York lawmakers and the governor have been at odds over pay increases for healthcare workers for months. Hochul didn’t include a wage hike for home health aides in the original budget she introduced in January, contending that those workers had received a pay hike at the beginning of the year when the state’s minimum hourly wage increased to $13.20. 

However, lawmakers pressed Hochul to include the Fair Pay for Home Care Act in the budget, which would have increased workers wages to 150% of minimum wage. The $3 wage increase falls slightly short of that.

The Home Care Association of New York said the state is in the midst of a massive home care crisis. PHI International, which tracks the home care industry, estimates New York will need to recruit at least 80,000 direct care workers within the next few years. PHI said 40% of the state’s 450,000 home care workers live below the poverty line.