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New York State to Increase Wages for Direct Support Professionals

April 15, 2014

New York’s 2014-15 state budget includes two separate raises for direct support professionals who care for people with developmental disabilities.

A 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) will take effect for approximately 100,000 direct support professionals on January 1, 2015. That will be followed on April 1 with a second 2 percent raise.

Direct support professionals “put in long hours caring for some of our most vulnerable men, women and children,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D). “They are underappreciated, and for too long they have been underpaid.”

The COLA was originally set to take effect in 2008, but was delayed for years due to budget difficulties. Consequently, direct support professionals have gone more than five years without a raise of any kind.

Adjusted for inflation, these workers have seen their wages decrease 8 percent over that time period, the Associated Press reported.

Average base pay for direct support professionals in New York is $11.17 an hour, according to a 2011 salary survey conducted by HR Pro and the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies.

The AP adds that the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wanted to delay the raises even longer, but state legislators, led by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D), pressed the administration to take immediate action.

Direct support professionals “are entrusted with the well-being of some of New York’s most vulnerable people,” Weisenberg said. “Their duties are often daunting, heartbreaking and physically challenging…. I am so pleased that our state’s budget recognizes their work and provides them with a better wage.”

— by Matthew Ozga

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