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OP-ED: NYC Home Care Workers Should Have Public Advocate

May 23, 2016

New York City’s home care workforce should have a dedicated public advocate, PHI New York Policy Director Carol Rodat writes in a May 22 Gotham Gazette op-ed.

Already estimated at 175,000 workers, the city’s home care workforce must grow by 45 percent over the next decade to keep pace with growing demand, Rodat writes.

Meanwhile, within the last few years, new laws and policies designed to address the chronically low wages of the home care workforce have been implemented, creating “a level of complexity that makes it difficult for employers to comply and for workers to know their rights,” she adds.

To help the growing home care workforce navigate these changes, “employers and home care aides need an unbiased source of information and assistance,” Rodat writes.

In February, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito proposed the establishment of a Division of Paid Care within the Office of Labor Standards, which would advocate on behalf of the home care workforce.

At the time, PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon hailed the proposal as a “singularly important step in protecting the rights of home care and day care workers who serve thousands of New Yorkers.”

In April, Rodat and PHI New York Policy Associate Allison Cook prepared a discussion paper outlining in greater detail the case for a public advocate for New York City home care workers.

— by Matthew Ozga

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