Certified nursing assistants would get increased pay under new legislation

State Democrats introduce CNA Pay Act
Certified nursing assistants would get increased pay under new legislation

Democrats say Wisconsin has a shortage of caregivers, and that’s a problem they want to help solve.

Three Democratic representatives introduced the CNA Pay Act at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. The act includes three pieces of legislation that would increase pay for certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, expand their access to training and help make training more affordable.

“The starting wage for these positions is a full $1.25 less than unskilled entry level workers make in other fields, fields like retail or fields like fast food,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck, of Madison.

Subeck introduced the legislation, along with Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sen. LaToya Johnson, both of Milwaukee.

The three bills provide tax credits to help offset tuition costs and grants to technical colleges.

There are currently 11,500 vacant personal care worker positions. With the state’s aging population, that number is only expected to grow.

Subeck said all of the bill’s co-authors are Democrats, and she was disappointed she couldn’t get any Republicans involved.

Assembly Republicans passed a bill that would reduce the required number of hours of training a caregiver needs to complete. The bill would align the state’s CNA hourly training requirements with the amount required under federal law. The federal standard is 75 hours, compared with Wisconsin’s 120 hours.