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Articles Focus on Home Care Workers’ Wages, Job Quality

May 17, 2012

The job quality and wages of home care workers are the focus of recently published articles in LeadingAge Magazine and BrainTrack.

“Ethical Workplaces” Needed

In LeadingAge, writer Dianne Molvig explains the need to create more “ethical workplaces” for home care employees.

“To me, an ethical home care organization is one that cultivates both quality care and quality jobs,” PHI Policy Research Director Dorie Seavey is quoted as saying in the article.

“High quality care is individualized and respectful,” Seavey continues. “High quality jobs provide a family-sustaining wage, affordable health insurance and respect for the worker, who gets excellent training and is allowed to participate in decision-making.”

Molvig uses PHI data to show that wages, retention, and overall working conditions for home care workers must improve if the U.S. hopes to keep pace with the increasing demand for such care.

She cites two organizations — Senior Independence in Columbus, Ohio, and Loretto’s PACE Central New York in upstate New York — as examples of ethical workplaces. Both organizations have invested in their workers in recent years, with positive results.

Revising FLSA Is “Win-Win”

The BrainTrack article, by Beth Panitz, focuses on the debate surrounding a proposed revision to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers.

“This revision would be an essential first step to stabilizing the home care workforce and positioning it to meet the demand we see coming,” Seavey is quoted as saying.

“We can raise the floor of these jobs in a way that’s win-win. We can attract more workers to these jobs so that we meet demand, and in so doing, it will improve the livelihood of workers,” Seavey adds.

Opponents of the proposed revision have argued that it will lower care quality by making it more expensive for home care companies to employ workers for 40 hours or more a week, which they say is necessary to establish care continuity. Seavey, however, told Panitz that “the notion that you get the best care when you have one aide working more than 40 hours a week is very questionable.

“We need a more modern approach to what continuity of care means,” Seavey added.

— by Matthew Ozga

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