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DATA BRIEF: Home Care Workers Should Earn $15/Hour

February 27, 2015

Raising home care workers’ wages to $15 an hour would stimulate both workers’ wallets and the economy as a whole, a National Employment Law Project (NELP) data brief argues.

Giving Caregivers a Raise: The Impact of a $15 Wage Floor in the Home Care Industry,” published in February, makes the case that the average home care worker’s yearly earnings would increase by up to $8,000.

Because low-wage workers tend to spend extra earnings on basic necessities — such as food, clothing, and housing — this wage increase would result in up to $6.6 billion in increased economic activity and up to 50,000 new jobs created outside the home care industry, NELP estimates.

“A $15 wage for home care workers is the right thing to do — for the workers and their communities, for the people they care for, and for our economy,” the data brief says.

The data brief also provides background on the tenuous economic situation that home care workers live in.

For example, it notes that approximately half of home care workers live in households that rely on public assistance, and that home care workers’ inflation-adjusted wages have declined since 2004 while the home health industry’s revenue has increased by nearly 50 percent over that time span.

Earlier in February, PHI published Paying the Price, a report that argues that the quality of home care in the U.S. would be improved if workers were not paid poverty-level wages.

— by Matthew Ozga

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