HB 2490 would establish a Long Term Care Wage Board to help set fair wages and benefits, provide career advancement training, and improve working conditions for all long term care workers in Oregon.
Oregon has been a leader in long term care for decades, but we are starting to fall behind. More than 100,000 workers across the state are now employed in the long term care industry and long term care is the largest sector of work in the local economy in many rural communities. Oregon needs to begin recognizing the long term care sector and its workers with the same attention as other major industries in the state.
Oregon is experiencing a workforce crisis in long term care that will only get worse unless the legislature starts looking at the problem holistically rather than program by program. The state has a history of making investments in various workforces, like construction, STEM, and career and technical education programs. For example, a prevailing wage exists in construction, along with standards around pay, training and upward mobility. The state does not, however, make the same investments in long term care: There are no standards of pay for Certified Nursing Assistants and no path forward for home care and personal support workers. It goes without saying that STEM, technical, and construction fields are male dominated, while long term care is 95% women and over represented by people of color and immigrants.
HB 2490 calls on the Labor Commissioner to establish a Long Term Care Wage Board that would analyze the whole industry, from the lowest wage jobs with the least amount of training, like home care workers, to the highest wage positions that require the most training, like registered nurses. The wage board would consider the following:
- Wages and benefits that are appropriate for workers throughout the industry
- Portable and stackable training for career advancement
- Recommendations to improve working conditions