News Council, members take part in legislative briefing on fair pay

Fair pay for the nonprofit human services workforce was the focus of an informational briefing for lawmakers on Thursday, July 18, at the State House. About 50 people, including legislators, aides and staff attended.

Hosted by Reps. Kay Khan and Paul Brodeur, a seven-member panel outlined the workforce challenges across the industry and the solution put forth in House Bill 138 and Senate Bill 1077, An act relative to fair pay for comparable work. The legislation would bring salaries at community-based providers in line with those paid by the state for similar jobs by Fiscal Year 2025. Khan is the sponsor of H.138.

Panelists at the briefing were Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes, Advocates President and CEO Diane Gould, Bay Cove Human Services President and CEO Bill Sprague, State Auditor Suzanne Bump, UMass Donahue Institute Senior Researcher Christina Citino, UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center chief Michael Goodman and SEIU Private Sector Coordinator Dan Hoffer.

Weekes outlined three recent reports from the Providers’ Council, as well as the Council’s Pro-Workforce Legislative Agenda, including H.138 and its Senate version of fair pay, S.1077 filed by Sen. Cindy Friedman.

“Similar job titles and roles exist for state and community-based human services nonprofit workers, but the rate of pay is drastically different – sometimes by up to 30 percent,” he said.

Gould and Sprague told lawmakers that they struggle to retain staff, especially those being paid $13 and $14 per hour for extremely demanding jobs. Many work more than one job. Gould said that her staff work in human services because they love it and feel a sense of purpose. Some have lived experience they want to share. But the harder it gets to care for themselves, the more difficult it becomes to care for others.

Member executives and staff are encouraged to reach out to their legislators to urge support of H.138 and S.1077. If you have questions about the Council’s fair pay bill or would like help with talking points, please email Bill Yelenak at bill@providers.org or call 617.428.3637 x122.

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