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Study Calls For Raises For Maine's Long-Term Care Workers

A state commission is calling for significant pay increases and more training for long-term care workers.

The study commission says there is a shortage of long-term care workers in the state, and that the shortage will grow as more Mainers demand services.

“These are the people that care the most for our loved ones and they do not receive the level of pay they deserve, because at the state level we have not made it enough of a priority,” says state Sen. Erin Herbig of Belfast, who co-chairs the commission.

The commission is recommending that the state require a starting wage of at least 125 percent of the minimum wage for the more than 20,000 long-term care workers in Maine, as well as more training. It did not estimate the cost of those changes.

“The first recommendation addresses the largest driver of the shrinking workforce, unsustainably low wages. We are proposing a starting wage for direct care workers that is no less than 125 percent of the minimum wage,” says Democratic state Rep. Jessica Fay of Raymond. “This needs to happen now.”

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.