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Conference budget has $20m for human service workers

Contact: Bill Yelenak
Phone: 617-428-3637 x122 (office) | 860-919-0369 (cell)

BOSTON – The Conference Committee budget proposal includes a $20 million Salary Reserve, which would give low-paid human services workers a modest annualized salary increase – their first in five years. Conferees released the budget proposal late Wednesday night, and the House and Senate are expected to vote on the spending plan on Thursday.

“The Providers' Council and the 31,500 direct care workers across the Commonwealth are incredibly appreciative that Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo and the six conferees, headed by Senate Ways & Means Chairman Stephen Brewer and House Ways & Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, included a $20 million Salary Reserve in the budget proposal,” said Providers' Council President & CEO Michael Weekes. “We thank leadership, conferees and our legislative champions – Senator Karen Spilka and Representative David Linsky – for helping achieve a critical salary adjustment for the thousands for workers who provide essential care to our most vulnerable residents for so little pay.”

The 31,500 workers making under $40,000 per year do not receive annualized raises due to fixed state contracts, and they rely on the Salary Reserve for a modest increase. The rising costs of shelter, gasoline, utilities and health insurance have made it difficult for human service employees to continue working in the sector with such small salaries.

“The Salary Reserve would not have been possible without the support of the House and Senate, and we appreciate their continued support of human services and our sector's workforce,” Weekes added. “We look forward to discussing this important fund and the work of these dedicated employees with Governor Patrick in the coming weeks as he considers the legislature's FY '13 budget proposal.”

The Providers' Council, also known as the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc., is the largest statewide membership association for community-based organizations providing social, rehabilitation, education and health care services.