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Mass. Senate Passes Budget with Pay Increase for Home Care Workers

May 23, 2014

The Massachusetts Senate approved a fiscal year 2015 state budget on May 22 that calls for a $6.1 million allocation to fund a wage increase for certain home care workers.

The wage increase entered the budget in the form of an amendment proposed by Sen. Pat Jehlen (left), one of an estimated 1,000 budget amendments the Senate debated before passing the budget.

The home care wage-increase amendment passed unanimously. The full budget passed by a 39-1 roll call vote.

If enacted into law, Jehlen’s amendment will result in an approximately 75-cent wage increase for the 17,000 homemakers and personal care homemakers serving consumers enrolled in the Executive Office of Elder AffairsHome Care Program.

The state Senate and House will now work together to send a single, final version of the budget to Gov. Deval Patrick (D). The next fiscal year begins July 1.

In a story that aired on May 21, Jehlen told WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate, that these workers have not had a raise since 2008.

“These are people who provide a really, really important service for very vulnerable people and they’re not paid enough to support their families,” Jehlen said.

In 2010, Jehlen shadowed homemaker Philomena Ahern as part of a PHI-sponsored “Come Care with Me” event.

— by Matthew Ozga

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