Support for Increase in “Essential Workforce” Salaries Wide Spread


Yesterday, more than 100 Maine businesses and non-profits called on Legislators to invest more in fixing Maine’s severe and persistent Essential Support Workforce crisis.

Earlier this month this coalition wrote lawmakers asking them to pass and fund LD 1573, a bill that implements the primary recommendation of the Commission to Study Long Term Care Workforce Issues – rate increases that will allow essential support workers to be paid 125% of minimum wage.

Thousands of Mainers are finding it nearly impossible to find support at home or to gain access to assisted living facilities or nursing homes.  This is because of Maine’s ever-worsening shortage of Essential Support Worker across all settings of the state.

“This is about our tight labor market and inadequate Maine Care rates.  These workers can earn more working almost anywhere else.  Providers can’t pay competitive wages to maintain an adequate workforce workers the State pays higher rates for these services,” said Jess Maurer, Esq., of the Maine Council on Aging.  “We are asking our law makers, if not now, when?  We are at the brink of the collapse of our long-term supports system and we have the funds available now to invest in this workforce.  Making this investment is good for Maine’s people, workforce and economy.”

“We have learned a lot over this past year as we responded to a pandemic that impacted and disrupted so many lives and community support systems.  The COVID crisis showed us that even though our social safety nets are essential, they are in many ways torn and tattered,” said Malory Shaughnessy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services.  “It has shown us that it is critically important to invest in building and supporting a quality essential support workforce…..”