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Pandemic pay bump for direct care aides ends Sunday

Georg Arthur Pflueger

Nursing home aides and home care aides could see a two dollar an hour reduction in their pay on Sunday.

That's when a pay increase approved during the pandemic expires.

Robert White has two sons with disabilities who need home aides for the tasks of daily life.

He says the aides aren't paid much anyway, and losing the pay increase could increase turnover.

"Can you imagine a different face showing up every day, someone that you don't know,  to take care of your toileting needs and give you a shower? That's what we're facing with the turnover crisis that we're having in this field," says White.

Sherry Boyd is Executive Director of ARC Michigan, a disability adevocacy group. She says providers and families alike have reported that the bump in pay has helped retain workers.

"It hasn't helped with the other problem of recruitment, and getting new people, but it certainly has allowed some people to stay," she says.

The state Legislature is currently debating whether to allow the pay raise to lapse, reinstate it temporarily or make it permanent.

Boyd says groups like hers will continue to lobby lawmakers to make the pay increase permanent.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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