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Detroit-Area Direct-Care Workers to Get Wage Passthrough

January 8, 2016

Thousands of direct-care workers in Wayne County, Michigan, who support individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, or substance use disorders will receive a $1-per-hour wage passthrough beginning January 1.

The Detroit/Wayne County Mental Health Authority (DWCMHA) approved the increase, an expenditure of $21.5 million, in December.

The funding will also cover employer expenses such as FICA and worker’s compensation so that the direct-care workers will see a $1-per-hour wage increase, according to Michigan Assisted Living Association Executive Director Robert Stein.

Several factors justify the increased take home pay. According to Tom Watkins, President and CEO of DWCMHA, “Outstanding care and respect for our loved ones should be demanded and proper compensation for workers who give selflessly to care for others should go without saying.”

Also, Michigan’s minimum wage increased by 35 cents to $8.50 an hour on January 1st and will increase again next January. Employers note that major retailers — such as Walmart, Target, and Costco — are offering initial wages substantially above the minimum wage.

— by Hollis Turnham, PHI Michigan Manager

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