Human Services Committee discusses hiring and retention bonuses for workers

This week the Human Services Reform committee passed legislation supporting Minnesota’s long-term care workers who provide for aging populations and individuals with disabilities. This bill would appropriate over $260 million for onetime hiring, retention, and training bonus grants for the long-term care and home and community-based service workforce. This is an urgent issue across the state. For months the committee has heard from providers on the long-standing staffing crises that are leaving individuals without the support they need and burning out existing staff.

DFLers fully support these efforts to better support Minnesota’s long-term care workforce and continue to push for an additional $1,500 in hero pay for these workers. Unfortunately, the Frontline Worker Pay proposal has continued to be stalled by Senate Republicans.

Along with onetime bonuses, Senate DFLers recognize the urgent need to deliver long-term solutions for these workers such as providing higher wages, safe working conditions, paid family leave and earned sick time, and ongoing healthcare or childcare subsidies. This crisis also renews the urgency for the Legislature to address how confusing, stressful, and expensive our long-term and residential care system is for families.

Workforce shortages in direct care sectors are not new, but they have been exacerbated by the pandemic. These positions are chronically underpaid, have minimal benefits, and are physically and emotionally taxing. The impacts of this staffing shortage ripple across the entire healthcare system; Minnesotans are stuck without access to long-term care or home supports, and families are scrambling to find new arrangements. This issue needs immediate attention, and DFLers are committed to advocating not only for immediate supports, but long-term solutions that invest in workers and individuals receiving care. (SF 2786)