I went into work today after a week off to find total choas; two of my coworkers had quit and taken new jobs and my boss informed me that all DSP's would be taking a pay cut. There have been rumors of a pay cut for a few months now so I was not all that surprised to find that there would be pay cuts. What I was surprised to learn is the amount of pay cuts they were asking all us DSP's to take.
Let me explain a bit about what I do. I am a Direct Service Professional for a company here in town. For me, this means I work at a group home for adults with Developmental Delays, and I work in a position that provides direct services to these clients. I (and my co-workers) work a three day on, four day off shift. This means that we are at work from 9am on Monday till 5pm on Wednesday (for example). During this time we sleep at work getting paid nothing in case one of our clients needs us overnight. Each assisted living home has five clients, with one staff member morning and evenings and 2 to 4 staff members during the day.
Being a DSP can mean many things, and usually every day is quite different. Generally I have to cook three meals a day for all my clients, transport them to work and other activities, help them with bathing and brushing their teeth and take them out for Day Hab, which means taking them out to do fun or necessary things in the community (go for a hike, visit the library, go shopping, etc..). We also have to work on goals that each of them have in their Plan of Care. Two weeks ago, I went to Sitka with a client who wanted to take a vacation to visit her family. It can also mean that I sometimes have to deal with incontinence and behavioral issues. I also do a lot of laundry and cleaning for the house and apparently my company has decided that my work will be worth a lot less money next month than it is now.
I am not getting unduly upset. I realize that due to a number of different issues with clients the company I work for did not come close to making enough money to cover our expenses this year. I realize that we have opened two new assisted living homes and that for most of the year, they were operating at a huge loss because they didn't have stable clients or staff. I also understand that a few clients have passed away and encountered major medical issues that also cost the company a great deal. Furthermore, I am fully aware of the burden Medicaid is forcing on the company by not raising the amount of money they give for services, while the cost of living and other things skyrocket, especially up here in Alaska. I know there are real financial issues that we as a company must face, however, I consider it only fair that we as a company face these burdens together.
Oh yes, did I not mention that the company I work for is only asking the DSP's to take a pay cut? It is true, believe it or not. All managers and middle and upper management are taking no pay cuts whatsoever, while I am being asked to take a 12% pay cut. They are asking me to take a pay cut of more than two dollars an hour, which is insane. Could this pay cut not be more effective if they asked the whole company to take a 5% pay cut, rather than severely cutting the wages of the people providing the services that make the company money? If we DSP's didn't work there would be no company whatsoever, the DSP's are the people who are providing the services that we bill Medicaid for.
I, many of my co-workers, and even many of our middle management employees consider this to be unfair and extremely disrespectful to those of us who provide services for the many AMAZING clients that this company serves. Maybe I am wrong, and would love to here from you if you think so, but I feel we should have earned a bit more respect than the company is giving us...