50,000 Michigan health aides to lose $2 raise without legislation

Mid-Michigan lawmakers react to open-carry ban at Michigan Capitol
Mid-Michigan lawmakers react to open-carry ban at Michigan Capitol(Michael Nafso/WJRT)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 12:54 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - At least 50,000 nursing home staff, home health aides and other direct care workers in Michigan will lose a $2 hourly pandemic pay raise next week if the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer do not enact COVID-19 relief aid.

Disability advocates are sounding the alarm ahead of lawmakers’ return to session Tuesday.

Some Medicaid-funded caregivers, including those who help people in their homes, first got the wage hike last April through an order issued by the governor. The increase was extended in June to nurses, nursing assistants and respiratory therapists in nursing homes under a bipartisan law.

Whitmer has proposed a $5.6 billion plan to spend Michigan’s share of federal COVID-19 relief funds, along with about $500 million in additional state funds. Her plan would make the $2 an hour pay raise permanent. The House Democratic Caucus also proposed a similar $5 billion plan earlier this month.

Republicans who control the House and Senate proposed separate plans much smaller than Whitmer’s.

The House passed a $3.5 billion plan to spend some of Michigan’s federal COVID-19 relief funds and hold some in reserve. The plan is contingent on Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services giving up authority to close schools for COVID-19.

Republicans in the Michigan Senate unveiled a $2 billion plan to spend part of the state’s federal COVID-19 relief funds and hold the remainder in reserve while providing strict oversight on how Whitmer’s administration spends the money.

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