Historic Legislative Victory Heralds a New Era for U.S. Nursing Home Care


Historic Legislative Victory Heralds a New Era for U.S. Nursing Home Care

UNI Global Union’s Care affiliates around the world have long been calling for governments to introduce safe staffing regulations in nursing homes and long-term care settings. In a landmark move hailed as a “historic moment” by care workers and patient advocates alike, the Biden-Harris administration did just that. The U.S. government has enacted sweeping reforms to improve the quality of nursing home care across the country.

The new rules come after years of campaigning by members of UNI affiliate SEIU. They establish nursing home minimum staffing standards to promote better quality care and to enhance worker safety. They also advance fair compensation for care workers. A group of investors on behalf of UNI’s Investor Initiative for Responsible Care, a coalition of more than 150 investors with $4.4 trillion in assets under management, wrote to the Biden-Harris administration expressing support for these new staffing standards.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry welcomed the rules change saying:

“The Biden-Harris administration has taken a major step toward strengthening our long-term care workforce, ensuring quality care for those who need it and helping every family thrive. The correlation between job quality and equal access to care is clear, and both rules are fundamental to transforming care jobs into sustainable, sought-after careers. Care workers – the majority of whom are women of colour – have been underpaid and undervalued for generations due to a legacy of racism and sexism. These rules are also major investments in an essential workforce that has been historically left behind.”

This U.S. initiative reflects a growing international consensus on the need for safe staffing regulations, as similar measures have been introduced in Ontario, Canada and Australia. The global rallying cry, “Ratios save lives” encapsulates the urgent need for such standards, which aim to prevent the high staff turnover, poor occupational health outcomes and sub-optimal care that can result from under-staffing.

“The United States is the biggest long-term care economy in the world, and these new rules will not only lift the lives of hundreds-of-thousands of workers and residents there, but they will also have a global ripple effect,” said Alan Sable, Head of UNI Care. “We applaud the hard work of the care workers who pushed for these reforms, and we will keep standing with them as they continue to make necessary changes in their jobs. This is important progress towards truly valuing care.”




UNI Americas