(This is the second of a three-part series spotlighting Home Health Care which will provide caregivers with an in-depth analysis of the industry and its’ many facets).
For those of you that are part of the 40+ club will remember the 80′s disco hit by Donna Summer (The QUEEN OF DISCO) “She works hard for the money, So hard for it honey…”
can relate to those words when I use them to describe home health aides who have the tremendous patience and skill-sets to work with the elderly and physically challenged each and every day. They perform a variety of tasks (which varies from state to state) such as: bathing, feeding, dressing, serve as companions, assist with therapy exercises, change a wound dressing, housekeeping, laundry, prepare meals, care for skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs.
What may surprise you is that the median starting pay across the country is $20, 170 per year or $9.70 per hour. (FYI – the average cost that YOU pay for home care service from an agency is $21/hour)
The industry is composed of 90%+ female workers, have a high-school diploma (some less) & no work experience needed to get started. According to the website for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they project a job growth of about 69% by the year 2020 in order to handle the demand for home care by the current Baby Boomers and Generation X workers who will be retiring by then.
Why should you be concerned? The industry has a high turnover rate of almost 50% because of the low pay, high levels of stress, high rate of injuries and the emotional demands of the job. Many of the home health aides that work with agencies find it difficult to take care of their family with this low salary and believe it is not a “livable wage” for them. They often talk about the lack of overtime pay and low number of hours available per worker. Why are YOU the consumer paying more than what THEY are getting as a salary? Business overhead costs, administrative costs, benefits, continuing education costs & uniform expenses that provided to the home health aides. An article published on the The New York Times website on February 8, 2012 talked about the “quiet” campaign by home care workers for federal protection that would include them (& other domestic workers) in the federal Fair Labor Standard Act that mandates minimum wages and overtime pay for most other workers. They have been excluded for over 40 years. The Clinton Administration proposed revising the law, the Bush Administration shut the process down & the current Obama Administration has yet to do anything with it. In December 2011, the federal Department of Labor took the most recent step by proposing revising the Fair Labor Standards Act to include most home care aides. Now they need Congress to act on it.
The previous “DO NOTHING 112th Congress” that just left office – DID NOTHING. Surprised?
(Note to the 113th Congress: You will probably need some of these workers sooner than you think!)
I think all the home care workers need a raise. What do you think?