5% Waiver Increase Passes Out of Committee

Today, State Senator Kent Eken (DFL – Twin Valley) presented legislation to give home and community based services a 5% rate increase in their pay. Supporters and advocates for this rate increase have formed a large coalition to push for this increase, known as The 5% Campaign. Due to the budget surplus, many are hopeful that this will be the year for this important increase. There is strong support for this bill amongst legislators; 42 Senators and 81 Representatives have signed on as supporters.

Chief author of the legislation Sen. Eken expressed the great need for making this legislation a priority.

“These hardworking men and women are not fairly compensated for the very labor-intensive work they are doing. Some work two or three jobs to pay for rent, food and clothes,” said Sen. Eken. “Staff turnover is high and right now we can’t guarantee people are getting the best quality care they can. This is really a matter of fairness, and it is long past due.”

The bill provides a 5% rate increase effective July 1st 2014 for a variety of primary care workers. With this increase, staff turnover will decrease while making these jobs more attractive for potential employees. Furthermore, this increase will create even higher quality care for Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens.

“The care these men and women give helps people lead better, more independent lives. They have been doing these jobs out of the kindness of their hearts for a long time, but now we must give them the support they need,” said Sen. Eken.

The bill had several testifiers in support of it in the Health and Human Services Finance Division today. Two amendments were offered to increase the scope of the bill, one to include elder care and deaf and hard of hearing services and a second to add a rate increase for nursing homes to pay for a possible minimum wage increase.

The bill passed through committee on a unanimous vote and is being laid over for inclusion in the Omnibus Finance bill.

For information on this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Kent Eken at 651-296-3205 or by email at sen.kent.eken@senate.mn.

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Senator Kent Eken
Kent Eken represents District 4, which includes portions of Becker, Clay, and Norman counties in the northwestern part of the state.

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