November 17, 2015, Emily Mongan, McKnights - A new campaign from the Massachusetts Senior Care Association seeks to create a “pathway” to a $15 hourly wage for the state's 77,000 nursing home workers. The “Quality Jobs for Quality Care” initiative calls for a “direct investment” into the long-term care workforce.
This means a “living wage” for certified nursing aides and direct care workers, supporting worker retention and establishing a Certified Nursing Aide scholarship program. The initiative follows a July win for the state's home care workers, who now earn $15 an hour as a base wage.
To fund the living wage initiative, the association is asking state legislators to use $90 million in nursing home fees to fund benefits for LTC employees, instead of going towards non-nursing home health programs. Of that money, $85 million would go toward wages, and $5 million would be used for training programs, the Worcester Telegramreported.
“The staff in our skilled nursing facilities work hard to provide excellent, professional care for more than 120,000 elders and individuals with disabilities who rely on their services, yet many make some of the lowest ages in the state,” said Massachusetts Senior Care Association President Abraham Morse in a press release. “We are calling on state leaders to invest in our workforce.”