Long-term care workers in several regions are in line for significant wage increases after employees received pledges of more support from their respective operators.
Iowa-based operator Lifespace Communities in December announced a more than $17 million investment that will increase pay for more than 3,600 workers at its 14 continuing care retirement communities. Employees were expected to begin seeing the raises through February, with many receiving raises in the double digits, according to the company.
“These wage increases touch every team member, from our nurses to housekeepers to culinary servers,” said Nikki Kresse, Lifespace’s chief people officer. “We want to remain competitive, keep our workers happy and recognize them for their dedication and hard work.”
The move follows similar, broad efforts by American Senior Communities, Trilogy Health, Good Samaritan Society and others.
In New York, a group of nearly 250 for-profit nursing home employers averted a strike by reaching a new, three-year labor deal with about 33,000 workers in December. The agreement promises 3.5% wage increases in 2021 and 3% raises in 2022 and 2023, while also giving each employee a $1,500 recognition bonus for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wage increases for improving staff retention also are increasingly important for taxpayer-owned facilities. In New Hampshire, for example, county officials in early December were forced to hold an emergency meeting to discuss how to increase pay for nursing home workers despite a tight annual budget.
Overwhelming staffing shortages were threatening to close the 94-bed facility.