Heritage Christian Services will increase minimum wage for full-time direct support positions in its residential program to $17.25 an hour and will provide a 5.4 percent cost of living adjustment for a majority of the staff.
The pay bumps mean 2,181 staff members benefit from the cost of living adjustment, and 1,739 frontline workers will see an additional boost to their hourly wage.
Heritage Christian said the wage increases were possible through state funding, including a cost of living adjustment from the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, as well as the agency’s “emphasis on financial stewardship to support its strategic priorities.”
Heritage Christian also boosted wages for care professionals in May of 2021, from $13.25 to $15.75. Certain shifts provide an opportunity to earn up to $19 an hour.
“Raising wages for our direct support professionals recognizes the essential services these caregivers provide in ensuring that people in our community have the support they need to realize their personal goals and lead fulfilling lives,” Marisa Geitner, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “This next step in increasing the wages of our frontline staff reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting and furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization and industry.”
Employees and care professional at human services agencies across the country continue to confront gender- and race-related wage disparities. Approximately 80 percent of professionals in the workforce at Heritage Christian identify as women, with 34 percent women of color.
“The agency is committed to hiring and retaining exceptional people and ensuring that they remain engaged in the important work of caring for others,” Geitner said. “At the industry level, we’re focused on helping to bring greater recognition and respect to the individuals that provide vital direct care services, including promoting pay commensurate with the important work they do.”
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