There’s little doubt these days that home care is going to remain the number one job creator in the country for the foreseeable future. In fact, due in large part to an increasing desire for aging and disabled adults to remain at home for as long as possible and the Baby Boomer generation now retiring, it’s placing increased demand on this industry.
Unfortunately, home health care aides and personal care aides (similar, but different, depending on the agency for whom they work), these workers can expect to make between $21,000 and $23,000 per year. As reported by the Chicago Tribune article, The fastest-growing jobs in America pay about $22,000 a year, written by Danielle Paquette:
“By 2026, the home health aide industry will add 425,600 positions, an increase of 46.7%, the government estimates show. The occupation’s median annual wage today is $22,600.
The ranks of personal care aides, who handle mostly domestic tasks, meanwhile, are expected to grow by 754,000 jobs, or 37.6%. These aides typically make about $21,000 a year.
Solar-cell installer and wind-turbine technician jobs, which come with larger paychecks, are projected to grow by 105% and 96% respectively, but the tiny fields will add just 17,400 new positions in the next decade, researchers predict.
Roughly nine in 10 caretaker positions are held by women. Nearly half identify as black or Latino.”
This has lead to a number of work advocacy groups and organizations demanding increased wages. The U.S. Department of Labor instituted a rule change that included these workers under the protection of minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. The SEIU (Service Employees International Union), one of the largest in the world, has been pushing to raise wages through laws across the country for fast food workers and home care providers.
While many of these workers earn low wages for what is often considered demanding work emotionally and physically, many of the agencies that employ them don’t have the financial resources to increase wages. This is compounded when those agencies accept clients who are supported by Medicare and Medicaid services, as opposed to private party payment options.
As the federal government continues to slash reimbursement rates for in home care support, it means fewer opportunities for the elderly and disabled who rely on Medicaid to have access to higher paid caregivers.
Pay remains a concern among advocates for home care providers, but the solutions are more complicated than simply raising minimum wage requirements, which could have consequences related to access to qualified caregivers for those who need support at home.
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