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Home Care On the Rise, But Quality of Jobs in Question

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Hundreds of thousands of home care workers are currently employed in California.
Their numbers are quickly growing to meet the demand of the state's aging population.
Jordan Lindsay is from the California Association of Health Services at Home.

LINDSAY: People are realizing these days that their loved one can remain in their home with the proper type of care and that it is possible and in many cases, it's affordable as well compared to the other types of services.

The workers may be affordable, but that's only because they're paid so little.

A home care or health aide can make just more than $10 an hour.

Sources say most of these jobs don't have health or retirement benefits, and there's no clear path to a better job.

Susan Chapman is from the UCSF Center for Health Professions.

CHAPMAN:There is some data indicating that some of these people working in these jobs have to sign up for public programs themselves, such as Medicaid or food stamps just to support themselves or their families.

Lindsay says there's a high turnover rate in the industry, and that doesn't benefit the fragile people who depend on them.

LINDSAY: That is at a detriment to the consumers, to the workers to the employers, to everybody, so it's one of our highest priority issues.

A bill that would give home care workers the right to overtime pay and other benefits was introduced this year in the California legislature.

It will be picked up again next year. 

The California Association of Health Services at Home is opposed to the bill.


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