Health Essential During Pandemic, Home Caregivers Push for More Hazard...

Essential During Pandemic, Home Caregivers Push for More Hazard Pay

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Home caregivers in Washington are urging the state to extend – and raise – hazard pay for their essential workforce.

Caregivers have received an additional $2.50 per hour since last May because of increased federal funds that have gone to enhanced Medicaid provider rates.

Tynesha Wilson is a home health-care aide with spina bifida. Wilson doesn’t have a car and was using public transportation to get to her clients before the pandemic.

She said she’s using her hazard pay for Lyft rides to decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to her clients.

“Transporting myself back and forth every day with just one means of another person transporting me versus being on a bus with, like, hundreds of other people every single day,” said Wilson.

Some of the increased federal funds were used to buy Personal Protective Equipment as well.

With more federal money coming from the American Rescue Plan Act passed last month, caregivers want Washington lawmakers to extend hazard pay and increase to at least $4, which is comparable to other essential workers.

Adam Glickman is secretary- treasurer for Service Employees International Union 775, which represents home caregivers in Washington. He said it’s a low-wage workforce and hazard pay will help retain and recruit workers at a crucial time.

“These workers are continuing to make a choice to risk their own health and their families’ health to go out and help seniors and people with disabilities be safe and healthy in their own homes,” said Glickman.

Wilson said caregivers brought to people’s attention how essential they’ve been during the pandemic.

“It wasn’t just the crisis,” said Wilson. “It was the crisis and us also pushing, saying we need to be able to get to our clients. We need to be able to feed our families. We need the money, and the money’s there so why not help us?”

SEIU 775 wants lawmakers to extend hazard pay before the Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 25.

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Cuidadores domiciliarios en Washington urgen al estado a extender y aumentar el pago por riesgo para su fuerza laboral esencial.

Los cuidadores han recibido dos dolares cincuenta centavos adicionales por hora desde mayo pasado, debido al aumento de los fondos federales que se han destinado a mejorar las tarifas de los proveedores de Medicaid.

Tynesha Wilson es asistente de atencion medica domiciliaria con espina bifida. Wilson no tiene automovil y estaba usando el transporte publico para llegar a sus clientes antes de la pandemia.

Ella esta usando su pago por peligrosidad para los viajes de Lyft para disminuir el riesgo de transmitir el virus a sus clientes.

“Transportarme de un lado a otro todos los dias, con solo una persona en lugar de estar en un autobus con cientos de personas todos los dias”, sostuvo Wilson.

Algunos de los fondos federales aumentados tambien se utilizaron para comprar equipo de proteccion personal.

Con mas dinero federal proveniente de la Ley del Plan de Rescate Estadounidense aprobada el mes pasado, los cuidadores quieren que los legisladores de Washington extiendan el pago por peligrosidad y aumenten al menos cuatro dolares, lo que es comparable a otros trabajadores esenciales.

Adam Glickman es secretario-tesorero de S-E-I-U 775 y representa a los cuidadores domiciliarios en Washington. El dice que es una fuerza laboral de bajo salario y la prestacion por condiciones peligrosas ayudaran a retener y reclutar trabajadores en un momento crucial.

“Estos trabajadores continuan tomando la decision de arriesgar su propia salud y la salud de sus familias para salir a ayudar a personas mayores y con discapacidades para que estas se queden seguras y saludables en sus propios hogares”, enfatizo Glickman.

Wilson dice que los cuidadores han llamado la atencion de las personas sobre lo esenciales que han sido durante la pandemia.

“No solo fue la crisis”, dijo Glickman, “fue la crisis y tambien nosotros presionando, diciendo que necesitamos poder llegar a nuestros clientes. Necesitamos poder alimentar a nuestras familias. Necesitamos dinero, y el dinero esta ahi, asi que ¿por que no ayudarnos?”.

S-E-I-U 775 quiere que los legisladores extiendan el pago por condiciones de vida peligrosas antes de que la Legislatura termine la sesion el 25 de abril.

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