Undervaluing the direct care workforce in Maine is costing the state millions each year, according to a new report from the progressive Maine Center for Economic Policy.
MECEP’s Arthur Phillips says roughly 8,000 Mainers are not in the labor force in order to care for loved ones due to a lack of direct care workers, which costs the state $13 million in annual lost tax revenue. And wages for direct workers are so low that many rely on public assistance. The report found that 18% of direct care workers are enrolled in MaineCare, which costs $18 million a year. And Phillips says many receive temporary assistance and SNAP benefits, which cost another $6 million annually.