BOSTON (WWLP) – Certain nursing home employees are set to get a pay raise this fall, but the Baker administration’s interpretation of the law could neglect the lowest paid workers.
The debate focuses on the interpretation of three words: “direct care staff.” Governor Baker believes the law covers only those who have direct contact with nursing home patients, but advocates disagree.
The Baker administration is at odds with the union representing some of the state’s lowest paid nursing home workers. A new law that takes effect in November will provide pay raises to nursing home employees considered “direct care staff.”
“There’s kind of a standard definition of direct care, and direct care means people who have direct contact with or involved with the direct contact to patients,” said Governor Baker.
Advocates are worried the Baker administration’s interpretation of the law could leave out the lowest-paid workers in nursing homes: such as housekeepers and those who prepare food. That includes tens of thousands of workers in Massachusetts.
Senate President Stanley Rosenberg told 22 News many of these employees struggle to get by earning ten to eleven dollars an hour.
“A lot of these folks have to work two and three jobs to be able to support their families, and if they have to turn to the government for food and fuel and rent subsidy – something’s wrong in the system,” said Rosenberg.
Governor Baker said he has a pretty open mind about the situation.
“I want to see what the comments had to say, and if people want to think differently about this than we have historically we’re open to thinking differently about it,” said Governor Baker.
The pay raises are set to take effect in November.