Wyden, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Boost Direct Care Workforce & Support Family Caregivers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today with colleagues reintroducedlegislation that would support the recruitment, training, and retention of direct care workers and family caregivers in Oregon and nationwide.

“American families count on care workers, and a fair wage is the minimum that should be done to support these essential workers and keep our caregiving workforce strong,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to support this legislation that would help address some of the root causes of care worker shortages across the nation. I am all in the fight so families and seniors can get quality, affordable care and care workers can have the dignified work they deserve.”

Low wages and high turnover have long contributed to staffing shortages in the direct care workforce, which provides crucial support to older Americans, people with disabilities, and other individuals with chronic conditions. In 2021, the median hourly wage for direct care workers in Oregon was $15.38. Now, with a growing number of older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S., shortages threaten to affect even more families.

The Supporting Our Direct Care Workforce and Family Caregivers Act would invest in recruitment and retention strategies such as better pay and benefits, education and training enhancements, and better career advancement opportunities that can help address the workforce shortage and help more families get the care they need.

Read the full bill text here

The bill was led by Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va. Along with Wyden, the legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Bob Casey, D-Pa., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.

This legislation is supported by the American Association on Health and Disability, American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the Arc of the United States, A Better Balance, Care in Action, Caring Across Generations, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Cure SMA, Economic Policy Institute, Family Values @ Work, Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, Justice in Aging, Lakeshore Foundation, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, Inc. (NADSP), PHI, Main Street Alliance, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Women’s Law Center, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

A web version of this release is here.