Direct Care Worker salaries are directly tied to state Medicaid funding, which has historically been lower than needed. Today’s workers currently receive, an average starting wage of $11.44 per hour. Many do not receive any medical or other benefits. That’s well below the average starting wage at a retail company or fast-food restaurant, which typically offer starting wages of $12.00–$15.00 per hour with additional benefits.
Michigan’s policymakers have recognized the need to address this critical issue, particularly as mental health has declined and substance use disorders have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, state leaders acted to provide Direct Care Workers with a temporary $2.00 per hour increase through a supplemental appropriations measure that passed in June 2020. The temporary increase was renewed and will expire at the end of February 2021.