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Rep. Schakowsky Promotes Fair Wages for Home Care Workers in Sun-Times

March 25, 2015

Paying home care workers a fair wage would help elders and people with disabilities to live with dignity and independence, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D) writes in a March 24 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed.

Schakowsky writes that the average wages among Illinois home care workers are far below the state average, which leads to high turnover among the workforce.

“Some home care workers have to take the next better paying job once it comes along,” she writes. High turnover among the home care workforce leaves “our most vulnerable in a very difficult position,” she continues.

Schakowsky mentions her experience shadowing home care worker Gilda Pipersburgh in a 2014 Come Care with Me event, sponsored by PHI.

“Our parents, sibling, or any one of us might need care from someone like Gilda at a point in our lives,” she writes.

That is why it is so important for states to invest in the home care workforce, ensuring that the necessary funds are available to pay workers a living wage.

“Are we going to continue to try to fund home care on the cheap — expecting consistent, quality care from women and men who cannot make ends meet for their own families?” Schakowsky writes. 

“Or are we going to invest in this workforce by providing adequate compensation and training to ensure that our communities have the strong, stable workforce needed to meet the rapidly increasing demand for quality in-home services and supports?” she continues.

Schakowsky also mentions the ongoing struggle to implement a federal rule change, promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor, that would finally extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers.

— by Matthew Ozga

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