Lawmakers, and those who work in the industry say staff turnover and worker shortages have been a problem even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“New York also dealt this sector a blow by cutting Medicaid allocations, and just this month, by raising the minimum wage Upstate for fast food workers, but not for home care workers,” said State Senator Rachel May.
Some say there’s just not enough incentive for people to go into those types of careers.
“Providing home care is physically and emotionally demanding work and why would somebody keep doing it if they could have a much less stressful job and make significantly more an hour doing something else like working in a fast food restaurant?” said Meghan Parker with the New York Association on Independent Living.
Some suggestions to compete with other industries included providing better benefits, getting more workers to unionize, and having childcare options.
“If you put that up against the wages that these workers are paid, they’re really left with nothing. I honestly don’t know how they make ends meet,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos.
Another suggestion was the possibility of introducing some automation into what is typically a very hands-on industry.
“Is there, or could there be some thought process given to that to kind of help with the shortage?” said Sentor Peter Oberacker.
Some in the sector noted they do what they can when it comes to relying on technology, and are exploring new things like automated food delivery.