Pay hikes for home health workers in Missouri may be cut

As many as 12,000 Missouri home health care workers are on the verge of losing out on long-sought wage hikes agreed to in 2014 with Gov. Jay Nixon.

On Tuesday, separate committees of the House and Senate are scheduled to debate legislation that would overturn a rule change implemented by the Democratic governor last spring designed to pave the way for the increases.

The move by the GOP-led General Assembly comes after unions representing the workers agreed to a plan allowing disabled and elderly Missourians who are served by the workers to set the hourly pay rate between $8.50 and $10.15 an hour. For now, under a pay system overseen by vendors who administer the Medicaid program, attendants earn about $7.75 an hour, said Susan Barkulis, chairwoman of the Missouri Home Care Union.

Nixon’s decision to authorize the wage bump through the use of an administrative rule gave the Legislature an opportunity to weigh in and possibly reject the governor’s action. Union officials representing the workers had called on the governor to instead amend existing contracts with vendors in order to avoid a fight with the Legislature.

The Republican-sponsored resolutions say Nixon’s maneuver doesn’t mesh with state law and should not be allowed.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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