(February 14th 2014, Chicago) — Home care workers in the Department of Aging (DOA) delivered a large Valentine’s Day card to Governor Quinn’s office, as well as personal messages on behalf of seniors, asking him to give low-wage homecare workers a $1 raise that they have more than earned.
After trying to meet with the Governor directly, several homecare workers spoke with the Governor’s senior staff about the importance of their work and what the Community Care Program means to seniors. Workers then held a rally outside of the Thompson Center to share their experiences caring for their consumers and seniors and why they feel their work must be respected.
Home care workers in the Community Care Program (CCP) in the Illinois Department of Aging (DOA) help seniors maintain a safe, comfortable and independent life within their communities, instead of seniors being forced to live in costly institutions or nursing homes. As a result, home care workers save the state tens of millions of dollars every year.
Home care workers make poverty wages and have average annual wages that hover around the federal poverty line: For example:
- The average home care aide earns $10.10 /hour
- The average provider works 25 hours/week
- Hourly Wage: $10.10
- Hours per week: 25
- Number of weeks: 52
- Average Annual Salary = $13,130 (which compared to the federal poverty line of $11,490 for singles and $15,510 for a family of two).
“We are asking for $1 an hour raise to ensure that our work force has the means and the incentives to continue to serve our seniors instead of the constant job turnover if home care workers leave for better wages elsewhere,” said Yvette Anderson, a home care worker who delivered cards to the Governor. “It’s not fair to our seniors to constantly replace their home care providers. We, as home care workers, can only do our jobs effectively when we develop a sense of trust and a relationship with our client over time.”
Annette Jones, a home care worker who herself takes care of other seniors said, “We take pride in our work caring for our elderly consumers. But we also want to be treated with the respect and professionalism that we deserve. That’s why we are fighting for a fair and decent paycheck for an honest day’s work.”
Home care workers are building support asking the Governor and state lawmakers to co-sponsor HB 3418 / SB 2576 which will give a $1.00 hourly wage increase to Community Care Program and Home Services Program agency homecare providers.