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LeadingAge New York Comments on Fast Food Wage Board Recommendations

LeadingAge New York called for the creation of a commission on the long-term workforce, in response to the Fast Food Wage Board’s recommendations to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for fast food chain workers. To permit consideration of the commission’s work and the adjustment of Medicaid funding to accommodate increased wages, LeadingAge NY also recommended a delay in the phase-in of the minimum wage increase outside of New York City, where the wage differential between direct care workers and fast food workers is smallest, and workforce shortages are most severe. 

LeadingAge NY noted that the Wage Board’s recommended increases in the fast food minimum wage would place long-term care providers at a competitive disadvantage in the labor market. Long-term care providers already struggle to recruit and retain direct care workers and other staff, due to the emotional and physical demands of their jobs. In some areas of the state, shortages of home health aides are affecting access to services. The proposed minimum wage increases will only exacerbate the situation, but our members will have little ability to raise wages in order to compete, given their heavy reliance on Medicare and Medicaid funding.

LeadingAge NY comments stressed that wage policy and long-term care workforce policy can no longer be divorced in the context of a growing population of seniors.  The commission on the long-term care workforce would provide a forum to develop coherent long-term care wage and workforce policies, aligned with the public funding needed to support them, including policies to address training, recruitment, and retention needs.  

Contact:  Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383 ext. 124