For Immediate Release
February 22, 2021
Contact: Stephanie Van Koevering, 517-974-6065


Urgent state action needed to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable residents this week

Michigan Direct Care Workers will see a drastic wage cut March 1 without action.


Without urgent action by the Michigan Legislature, the state’s Direct Care Workers,
who take care of the Michigan’s most vulnerable residents, will endure a significant
pay cut next week.


That cut will cause a mass exodus from the profession and unprecedented
consequences for Michigan families who rely on this care for loved ones.
“Without action this week, Michigan’s most vulnerable residents will be left
unsupported and that would have drastic consequences, especially during this global
pandemic,” said Sherri Boyd, executive director of The Arc Michigan. “Direct Care
Workers provide essential services and their work is more important than ever. The
clock is ticking, and we urge the Michigan Legislature to avoid this massive pay cut and
support our most vulnerable.”


Michigan’s Direct Care Workers provide essential personal care, training, emotional
support and respite to an estimated 100,000 Michigan residents with mental illnesses
or developmental disabilities. Direct Care Workers are severely underpaid, with the
average starting wage being less than that of retail companies or fast-food restaurants.
“We are facing a dangerous cliff this weekend and families of those with mental
illnesses and developmental disabilities are the ones who will suffer if action isn’t
taken by the Legislature,” said Scott Schrum, CEO of Residential Opportunities
Incorporated. “Michigan’s Direct Care Workers provide a lifeline for our most
vulnerable and deserve to sustain their wages so they can keep providing care to those


Last year, Governor Whitmer enacted the temporary $2/hour wage increase for Direct
Care Workers who are on the front lines of the pandemic. That wage increase had
previously been extended but will end on Feb. 28, 2021 without swift action by the
Michigan Legislature.


“Michigan families are relying on the Legislature to do the right thing and sustain this
funding so that essential care for their loved ones can continue,” said parent advocate
Bob White. “There is no time to waste and the clock is literally ticking. Let’s support
our most vulnerable and those that provide them with care, it’s the least we can do.”
With an average starting wage of $11.44 per hour—and no benefits—Direct Care
Workers have urgently needed the state’s temporary increase. In her Fiscal Year 2022
budget, Governor Whitmer called for the $2/hour wage increase to become
permanent, which would critically help this essential industry.