The Human Services Reform committee heard a bill this week that would support our state’s Personal Care Assistants (PCA) workforce by establishing a new payment rate methodology to increase wages. PCAs have been historically underpaid and underappreciated; their hard work to support Minnesotans in the past and during this pandemic show these critical workers deserve to be compensated fairly for their commitment.
This bill will establish a new fee schedule and rate methodology so that rates change with the market and cost of providing care, rather than through inconsistent and arbitrary raises. Minnesota already faces a shortage of PCA and other direct support workers. With vacancies expected to worsen into the future, the state needs to focus on creating greater benefits to attract more applicants to the field. These roles are essential to supporting elderly Minnesotans and those with disabilities who require support in their daily lives. Without the help of PCAs, many may be forced into group homes or other congregate settings. Minnesotans deserve to have reliable, high-quality care for themselves and their loved ones, and PCAs deserve to make a living wage and appropriate benefits.
Supporting our direct care workforce is a priority shared by the Walz Administration. DFLers are eager to hear Senate Republicans plans on considering the recently negotiated contract between the State of Minnesota and SEIU, the union representing direct support providers and PCAs, that would increase wages past $15/hr and improve benefits.