Rozic Helps Secure Deal for Pay Raises for Direct Care Professionals

Agreement brings better compensation for those who care for New York’s most vulnerable citizens
April 13, 2017

Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) announced this week that the state budget achieves a goal she has working towards for several years: better wages for the direct support professionals who work with those with developmental disabilities, mobility limitations, and other major medical needs. This includes non-profit agencies that provide the supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Statewide, ten percent of these positions are currently vacant and the turnover rate is now above 20 percent.

Assemblywoman Rozic said: “For several years, I’ve been holding meetings with the families of people with developmental disabilities, and one of their major concerns has always been the need for experienced caregivers for loved ones. Our direct care workers are among the most compassionate individuals in any community, and the lives of our most vulnerable are enhanced every day by the dedication of these hard-working professionals. By approving a budget that will raise the wages for these workers, we can further strengthen the level of care that our communities provide for the developmentally disabled and their families.”

In 2015, a survey of nonprofit agencies by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities showed that nearly one in four Direct Support Professionals who began working at the agencies did not return to work there for a second year, and vacancy rates exceeded 9 percent. The survey also showed that the remaining agency workers were paid for 6,442,594 hours of overtime – which represented a 13.5 percent increase from the previous year.

Charles Houston, CEO of the Queens Centers for Progress said: “Our hundreds of direct support staff provide skilled, caring services every day to people with significant support needs. The #bFair2DirectCare campaign is a multi-year state-wide effort to obtain the government funding that allows agencies like QCP to pay wages that fairly recognize the responsibilities of their work. The ultimate beneficiaries of a stable direct care workforce are the people we serve and their families. We are extremely grateful to Assemblywoman Rozic for her unwavering support on this issue. Her advocacy with her fellow legislators was essential in creating the clear message from the Legislature that this funding needed to be in the final budget. We also congratulate Governor Cuomo for making the increased funding a reality.”

John DiBiase of ANIBIC said: “Our direct care workers are the backbone of what we do – providing one on one support, friendship and care to the hundreds of children and adults that come through our doors each year. It is their drive to help people live dignified, independent and full lives that make this job such a crucial one. Thanks to the state legislature for continually fighting by our side. Our direct care staff deserves better for their life-changing work and dedication, and we are pleased that this is finally becoming a reality.”

Direct care workers and direct support staff will receive a 3.25 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2018. Additionally, direct care workers, direct support staff and clinical staff will receive a 3.25 percent increase on April 1, 2018.