$16 an hour: Local disability service provider raising wages | www.WDIO.com

$16 an hour: Local disability service provider raising wages

Baihly Warfield
Updated: June 07, 2021 07:33 PM
Created: June 07, 2021 04:43 PM

Last week, dozens of people who work as direct care staff for people with disabilities got some welcome news: Their wages were increasing by about 20 percent, to at least $16 an hour. 

Tender Loving Care, a local disability service provider, is raising its pay rates. Its staff work in St. Louis and Carlton counties. 

"We really focus on providing supports for people who want to live independently," Director of Operations Ryan Underwood said. "So we don't own our own homes. We work with people to live in their own apartments and family homes, help them find jobs in the community, really just live with independence."

Underwood said early in the pandemic, like so many businesses, they had to make tough decisions. They even cut a program. But in that process, he said they've learned to do more with less. 

"We're in a position now where we could go and expand our upper part, our administration, back to what it was or we can reinvest in our workforce. And that's what we've decided to do," he said. "So take the cost savings we've realized, the efficiencies, and just give it back to the people providing the direct care."

Because reimbursement rates are set by state and local government, it can take years for rates to catch up, making it tough to pay people more. 

They typically have about 50-60 direct care staff. Underwood said hiring challenges haven't hit them as hard as other businesses, but since announcing the wage increase, they have gotten in more than a dozen applications.

For more information about Tender Loving Care or to see open positions, click here


Baihly Warfield

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