On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, the Joint Budget Committee members and Chair Moreno approved a plan created by the Polis-Primavera administration and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing that starting January 1, 2022, direct care workers funded with any state dollars working in-home and community based settings are to receive a minimum wage of $15 per hour. The wage increase supports workers who currently receive the lowest rate of pay despite providing direct care to older adults and individuals with disabilities in Colorado, including personal care workers, homemakers, certified nursing assistants, and other direct support professionals.
Colorado Raises Minimum Wage for Direct Health Care Workers
In celebration of the approved plan, Governor Jared Polis commented “Every Coloradan should be able to live and enjoy the Colorado we love and I’m proud that we’re taking care of those who take care of our loved ones.” Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera also commented “Direct care workers are the unsung heroes of Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hands-on work with Coloradans who are aging, or have disabilities and need care has saved lives and sustained communities. However, these workers are essential personnel even when our state is not responding to a pandemic. Raising wages is one way we can thank these workers, and attract more people to this rewarding, and critically important field.’’
Voyager Home Health Care supports the raise for direct care workers. Our staff includes many direct care workers including home health aides, personal care workers, and certified nursing assistants who care for older adults and individuals with disabilities. This line of work can be physically demanding, yet historically, direct care workers have been overworked and underpaid. We understand the impact these workers have on individuals within the community and the support they provide to help individuals remain home, maintain independence, and live a quality life. Something that has always set Voyager apart from other home health care agencies is paying its direct care workers well above industry standards. Voyager is pleased to see this change for direct care workers who have historically earned low wages.
Charmayne Phillips, a Colorado home care provider for the last 25 years, says “We have long been underpaid, undervalued, and overlooked. After years of organizing and making our voices heard, in the streets and at our jobs, and in the halls of government, Colorado has taken a step forward, to start to right that wrong. $15 is a good step. It will mean a lot of underpaid workers will finally see a raise. Now, we must keep up the fight until every worker in our state has the respect, seat at the table, and fair pay we deserve.”
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