PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s new program to provide pay raises to low-wage workers in certain congregate care homes is set to start taking applications Monday.
This is Gov. Gina Raimondo’s latest push to keep places like nursing homes fully staffed, which was announced in her briefing on Sunday.
Eligible Medicaid funded residential facilities can apply for this forgivable loan through the office of health and human services.
It is called the Congregate Care Workforce Stabilization Fund, designed to give raises to front-line workers making less than $20 an hour — no word on how much those raises would be.
Raimondo says these employees are doing the hardest work under the toughest conditions, at the lowest wages. If applied early, the state hopes approved funding hits paychecks starting in May.
When Raimondo was asked Sunday if the program would be available to home health care workers, she said it would not.
The Governor added that she hopes Congress will approve legislation for hazard pay for more categories of frontline workers since this state solution is a temporary fix.
“We have to help them and we have to send them some relief,” Raimondo said at her briefing Friday. “Frankly, we have to give them a raise for doing the job they are doing, and also help be sure that these staff shortages do not continue because we need to fill these shifts.”
On Saturday, Raimondo ordered the National Guard to step in and help these facilities saying she knows they need help, along with bringing more supplies and equipment to get them through this.