25 Investigates: human services pay hike proposal pulled

A 350-million-dollar budget amendment recently filed by Sen. Adam Gomez, (D) Springfield, has been withdrawn.   Sen. Gomez cited the hefty price tag of his proposal and other budget items aimed at helping disabilities services workforce as the reason for the move.

He had proposed a pay increase for human services workers to fill massive job vacancies across the state.  A staffing crunch before the pandemic has only been made worse by the national labor shortage.  As 25 Investigates reported in May, approximately 7,000 adults with disabilities in Massachusetts have limited or no services, according to the Association for Developmentally Disabled Providers (ADDP).

Most human services positions are state funded.  The amendment would have increased salaries from $16.79 an hour to $20.30 an hour.  The more competitive rate is in line with pay increases in other fields like retail, food service, and package delivery.

Senator Gomez released this statement:

“I filed the amendment to increase the Chapter 257 Rate Reserve because I saw it as an important way to support our disabled community and the essential workers who provide these important services. However, there are existing provisions within the Senate Ways and Means Budget that reflect the needs of the disability services workforce. I withdrew the amendment after working with Senate Ways and Means and the Honorable Chairman Senator Rodrigues, in light of the existing provisions in the original Senate Ways and Means Budget version and the extraordinarily high price tag that came with the amendment ask. While it is unfortunate that I was unable to secure the funds to increase these salaries I am confident in the Senate’s ability to provide alleviation for advocates concerns and will continue working in my capacity as the Senate Chair of Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities to ensure that this is addressed and that the advocates’ voices are heard.”

Senator Patrick O’Connor, (R) Weymouth, has filed a similar budget amendment that would raise human service worker rates.  His amendment is still pending.

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