ALBANY, NY (WENY) – While the budget continues into overtime, some lawmakers and minimum wage workers advocate to raise the minimum wage to $21.25.
Lilieth Clacken, a home care worker of more than 15 years, said taking care of others is her passion. But she said an increase in the minimum wage is essential, and necessary so she and others can pay their bills.
“The hard that we do for others, we really should be compensated. It’s necessary for us to live a decent life and to live with dignity, it is necessary,” Clacken said.
For Jose Hernandez, home care workers are essential for his everyday life. Hernandez was paralyzed at the age of 15 and is now a quadriplegic unable to walk, stand, or perform other everyday activities by himself.
He said his home care workers have allowed him to go to school, get a job, and live independently.
“Without my home care workers, I would not be able to do anything productive. I would be living in a nursing home,” Hernandez said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget plan proposes indexing the minimum wage. Lawmakers are currently negotiating this issue. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said the Senate and the Assembly are talking about raising the starting point first and then plan to discuss indexing.
Some lawmakers are hoping to get the starting point to $21.25 for all minimum wage workers, including home health care.
“We have an eighty thousand worker shortage right now for home healthcare workers in New York State because we don’t pay them enough and that’s what we need to change right now,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein (D-Assembly District 74).