The Healthcare and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonuses (HWB) classifies frontline workers doing very similar jobs differently, simply based on the setting in which they work.
In August, the bonus eligibility was extended to patient-facing food service workers, janitorial staff, maintenance workers, medical secretaries, and administrative support who are employed by hospitals and nursing homes, but not those same workers in other settings. People were left out of this important program purely because they work for voluntary providers of supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
The stated purpose and intent of the HWB is to acknowledge essential frontline health care and mental hygiene workers who have helped usher New Yorker’s through a once-in-a-century public health crisis. Our work and sacrifice allowed New York state to be a model for battling and beating COVID-19.
Frontline workers for voluntary agencies cannot continue being overlooked time after time whenever essential frontline worker status is bestowed on some but not all. We are respectfully requesting that the Department of Health swiftly address this inequity and extend the same employee title eligibility to employees with equivalent titles serving individuals with I/DD now and in the future.