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President Obama has been trying to change the fact that nearly 1.8 million working people, most of them women and many of them people of color, are excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections because they are home care workers. Now, Senate Republicans are trying to block these workers, close to 40 percent of whom are paid so little that they rely on Medicaid or food stamps despite doing an essential job, from getting paid minimum wage or overtime.

Remember that a full-time minimum wage worker makes just $15,080 a year. Home care workers in most states aren't required to be paid that. And that's how Senate Republicans want to keep it:

Sens. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., along with 11 other lawmakers, introduced a bill known as the Companionship Exemption Protection Act, to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to preserve the current state of the law's so-called companionship services exemption.
The exemption was created under the assumption that in-home "companions" were very part-time babysitters and the like, not the full-time, medical services-providing workers to whom Obama is trying to extend the most wage basic protections the United States has to offer. "As the homecare business has changed over the years, the law hasn’t changed to keep up," Obama noted in introducing his push:
So even though workers like Pauline do everything from bathing to cooking, they’re still lumped in the same category as teenage babysitters when it comes to how much they make. That means employers are allowed to pay these workers less than minimum wage with no overtime. That’s right—you can wake up at 5:00 in the morning, care for somebody every minute of the day, take the late bus home at night, and still make less than the minimum wage.
It's no surprise Senate Republicans want to keep things that way.


Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Global Expats, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dang the Repubs are stupid. (12+ / 0-)

    Don't they know most home care workers are women and women vote?

    We need to get the word out. Home Care Workers may not be plugged into politics, but they are nowhere near stupid.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:33:25 AM PDT

  •  Laura, the link to the Law360 article is behind a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    subscription-only firewall.

    Can you provide a link that does not require subscribing?


    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:42:38 AM PDT

  •  What, exactly, is the President's proposal? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, VClib, JanL

    I remember when our family had an aged parent in the hospital, for example, the family paid for a "sitter" (that's how they were advertised) to essentially stay in the hospital room overnight so that family members (who were taking turns to stay in the room during the day) could go home to sleep.  (This person made clear that she was not responsible for providing medical services.)  Would the change in the law mean that someone like that would be paid minimum wage?  Or does the law distinguish between those who do, in fact, advertise themselves as part time "sitters" from those who are full time in-home companions, as in the President's example?  

    For the most part, as in my experience, the families pay for the in-home companions for relatives if they, themselves, cannot be there, so I think this will have a significant impact on not only the workers, but also the families who often get together to pay the workers, so I'm interested to see where this goes.  

    •  Here's some info: (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga, VClib, Egalitare, MKinTN, antirove
      The home health care worker exemption (called the companionship exemption) was put into place in 1974 to allow family and friends to provide care without worrying about minimum wage and overtime provisions. However, since the exemption was added to the law, the home health care industry has grown. According to an article in the New York Times, 90 percent of home health care workers work for agencies. While most of these workers receive at least the minimum wage, many do not receive overtime pay if they work for more than 40 hours a week.

      The proposed new rule would amend the companionship exemption so that it does not apply to home care workers who are employed by third parties or to home care professionals employed directly by families. It would still exempt casual babysitters and caregivers.

      In your situation, the devil would appear to be in the details.  It seems to me that the situation you describe could be construed either way - the person is a home care professional employed by your family (pay minimum wage) or is the person a casual caregiver? As a non-related third party, probably the former, which is as it should be.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:09:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It may mean that families (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        just don't hire as many of those "sitters" any more, I guess.  

        More often than not, for families to come up with the money now is not always an easy thing.  This is one area, I think, where a mandatory increase in the pay scale will result less hiring.  We're not talking about Fortune 500 companies paying for this, for the most part.  I can understand if an insurance company, or even Medicare/Medicaid were paying of this.  I am a bit more ambivalent about including families in there -- I do think that it will cause some families, who had to do a bit of sacrifice to hire a sitter now, to think twice.  

        I guess it's a decision between (1) do you want more people working at these jobs at a lower wage; or (2) do you want fewer people working but those who do get paid better?  This is one area -- hiring by family members -- where I cannot see how you significantly increase a pay scale without sacrificing some hiring.

        •  As noted above, 90% of these workers (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Egalitare, JanL, julifolo

          are through agencies, and for them, I suspect there are medical issues and so all or part of their cost is being paid by insurance.  Then, some of the 10% that aren't through an agency are those home care workers that do provide some medical treatment, or some household work (cleaning, running errands, etc.) and are already paid at least minimum wage, if not more.

          So, maybe 5 - 7% of the home health workers at most are just private sitters being paid for by families.  If we're being honest, I suspect that many of these arrangements are already "under the table" and that these sitters are being paid in cash and not declaring their income. So, these would continue as is.

          Therefore, we're talking about regulations that will positively affect and protect a good 97% of these workers, and a very small % that might be dropped by families that won't pay minimum wage. As the population ages, the demand for home health workers is increasing.

          My conclusion would then be that the new regulations are a positive step and the right thing to do.

          Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

          by absdoggy on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:26:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree, this is about agency/corporate costs... (0+ / 0-)

            ...and in the bigger picture, the this-means-woe-to-private-sitters is more a diversion.

            We can call them homehealth agencies, tho' it's important to recognize that they are corporations, receiving  insurance compensation including Medicaid & Medicare, and as an industry they have lobbyists advocating for legislative measures that they think will help increase their potential profitability. The Republican stance on this issue seems to represent an example of this advocacy come to fruition.


        •  It actually sounds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          like the situation you describe would be exempt:

          It would still exempt casual babysitters and caregivers.
          I guess you have a quandary -- do we pay home health providers a minimum wage (not even talking about "living" wage"), or do we pay them crap and expect the taxpayers to cover their asses with food stamps, Medicaid and the like?

          Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

          by Cali Scribe on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:59:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Why should a full time worker not be entitled to (0+ / 0-)

      the dignity of the minimum wage ? Truly part time, casual workers are different (as opposed to those who are only being given enough hours to make them under the legal definition).

                             Truly asking,

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:26:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They want everyone making less than minimum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, BlackSheep1, marina

    Hell, they'd be just fine with us making nothing ("dirty hippie slobs" we in the working class are)

  •  Babysitters making (7+ / 0-)

    less than minimum wage? where?

    The companies that hire the companions are vampires, they'll hire them as contractors and pay them only a misery for worked hours, no holidays, no sick days no nothing. Still they'll charge the families that need the companions $30 or more and hour.

    When is the total lie of "contractors" going to be regulated an enforced?

    •  And no unemployment or workers' comp, either. (6+ / 0-)

      I have a friend who tries to make a living as a home healthcare aide. Her referral agency has her set up as an "independent contractor."

      1. If you lose your client/patient--she dies, moves into a nursing home, whatever--you don't get unemployment benefits.

      2. If you get hurt on the job, you don't get workers' comp.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:30:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the same (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare, JanL, HeyMikey, antirove

        in many other fields. They are also driving wages down because this companies steal each other contracts by being cheaper on account of making their "contractors" XIX century sweat shop workers. They quarter the hours to the "contractors" but charge them full, they don't want pay anything for displacements even if the jobs are hours away, they ask people to pay for their training, to pay for their "uniforms" ....

    •  iberian, yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Iberian, JanL

      what happened to a friend of mine is a case in point.

      her job went away ... she still does the work, but now she is a "volunteer coordinator" including being a "volunteer" herself.

      I think it's going to take some kind of uprising of the millions of us who do not make six figures a year or better ... I hope we can achieve it by an uprising at the ballot box but I have my doubts.

      LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:49:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The kids in my neighborhood charge $10 and (0+ / 0-)

      up per hour for babysitting and I live in a working class neighborhood.

      I had no idea home health care workers were paid less than minimum wage!

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:34:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The courts have rule it is DOL's responsibility (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackSheep1, marina, JanL

    to detail the new regulations that would extend FLSA protections to these workers.

    Now, some in Congress want to keep DOL from doing the job they are empowered and instructed to do.


    Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

    by catchlightning on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:21:32 AM PDT

  •  A great Op-Ed on this by Cathy Ruckelshaus (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    from earlier this week on CNN Opinion.

    Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

    by catchlightning on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:27:06 AM PDT

  •  This is shameful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok

    I hope when it comes time for these leeches Johanns and Alexander to need home care, they get someone like Jaws from 007 for their careperson. With rough, sandpaper hands for when he bathes their tender lily-white asses.

  •  Speaking from experience, there's few thing harder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunny skies, JanL

    than caring for a bed ridden adult. From lifting, bathing, changing diapers, feeding, following multiple perscription medication directions to the letter, renting medical equiptment like a hospital bed or O2 machine, .... not to mention taking care of the house - cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying bills, laundry etc.... while working a 40-60 hour a week job.

    Elderly folks often have mental issues like depression, Alzheimers or dementia, and that requires special skills to deal with them. Back in the 70's, there were no support groups. We were on our own. I'm insulted people consider this "babysitting".

    Side Note: If it weren't for my dad's union pension & Social Security survivor benefits, we would have been on the streets. Both of which the Republicans want to end.

    With the Baby Boomer generation aging, in-home assistance workers will be in great demand. We should require them to be trained, licensed, & well paid (or unionized). It should be part of a basic medicare plan. It's cheaper to stay in your own home as long as possible than a state nursing home which will suck away 100% of your income within a year and leave you indigent & worse off. Most people also use home health services part time & only for a short while. A few years at most, so we are not talking about a lifetime cost.

    We're paying for a long term care insurance plan just for this reason. Having worked in nursing homes as a teen, I have nightmares about ending up there old, sick and alone. Having taken care of my mom, I know what to expect and am planning responsibly.

    I consider home health workers as important to our society as police, firefighters and teachers because we all are going to need them eventually.

    Nature created the human race, but humans created racism.

    by GrannyOPhilly on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:06:38 AM PDT

    •  Here in Florida we ARE required to be trained... (0+ / 0-)

      ...licensed, background checked, finger printed...all that for slavery wages. Those requirements are set up by the state and must be adhered to or one cannot work.

      As far as being able to plan for myself, I don't know anyone personally from the baby boom generation here in Florida that has a retirement plan. We don't make the wages down here to be able to afford that, and we don't get it as part of a benefits package from our jobs.

      We GIVE healthcare but we don't GET healthcare even for ourselves.

  •  Unintended Consequences of (0+ / 0-)

    extending full wage & hour protection to home health care workers:  What of the non-profit agencies that provide professional roommates so that elderly and/or disabled people can live at home?  If the agency had to pay overtime to the roommate, you can bet the rates the state pays the agency will not be increased to cover the increased costs.  So the agency will have to arrange care in shifts, depriving the roommate of his living arrangements.  (Overnight care may be in lieu of rent.)  Even that may not cover the increased cost, so the agency may have to decrease hours of service or drop clients who require 24-hour care.  Any increase to wage & hour protection for these workers should include protection for agencies who are providing these services.

    •  so, you're saying this great nation (0+ / 0-)

      has to pick who to screw over, the poor, or the elderly/disabled?  I've got news for you, they're already doing that.  budget cuts are already forcing that, picking who can and who cannot have care.  the amusing side effect of course is for elderly/disabled, they can slide back to requiring a nursing home, which costs considerably more, and thus worsening the budget crisis.  There they can get professional level trained minimum wage workers.

  •  Ah yes... (0+ / 0-)

    these are the tasks, the work, the labor that in previous generations (and in the Republicans nostalgic vision of the past, and hopeful vision for a future that looks like the 14th Century), women did for free, as part of "paying their keep" to the families that fed and sometimes protected, sometimes imprisoned them.

    Why should minimum wage apply here, all we need is to get women out of the workplace and send them back home where they can do this work and we never again have to think of it in financial terms, but can just extract free labor that doesn't show up on the books, exactly as Republicans like.  

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:31:06 AM PDT

  •  Unionization (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This action, if passed, would cause widespread unionization of home health workers.   Missouri passed a ballot initiative in 2008 that allowed these types of workers to unionize and the SEIU and AFSCME just got the Missouri Home Care Union certified last month.   There will be epic battles between this Union and the providers.

  •  hoe much feudalism does the GOP want without (0+ / 0-)

    expecting more work for law enforcement and prosecution

    President Obama has been trying to change the fact that nearly 1.8 million working people, most of them women and many of them people of color, are excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections because they are home care workers. Now, Senate Republicans are trying to block these workers, close to 40 percent of whom are paid so little that they rely on Medicaid or food stamps despite doing an essential job, from getting paid minimum wage or overtime.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:48:38 AM PDT

  •  Caregivers (4+ / 0-)

    I was caregiver for my Mom in her last years. I had to work full time to pay my bills and at the same time work full time taking care of her for free. I did it out of love but it was very hard. No one can imagine how difficult of a job it is to be a caregiver until they have walked in our shoes.

    The Republicans are so out of touch on this. They have no hearts.

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:55:33 AM PDT

    •  yeah, me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      then I was a companion to a friends Mom. It's really important and rewarding work. It was so successful I applied to an agency and learned they would pay me $10/hr.....NOT a living wage. Striking out on my own seems to be the answer. And I agree, I am astounded at the r's lack of heart.

      you get what you give

      by chicagobleu on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:49:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Minimum wage laws (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrannyOPhilly, angstall, DaveW

    Defined pension plans

    Health care

    Right to unionize

    Bankruptcy filings which eliminate worker's benefit plans

    Bankruptcy filings which eliminate 401(k) accounts

    All these and more are a well-orchestrated agenda by the right to create a hypercapitalistic Adam Smith economy which will keep working people impoverished and desperate to earn any money to survive.

    Greece will vote tomorrow on a similar choice that President Obama framed in his weekly address.

    We can be a nation governed by bankers and venture capitalists or we can restore social values that we worked for for over a Century.  Each election now, even at the State Legislature level, defines who we will be in the future.

    The Muslim said "I wished I had met Christ before I met the Christians" - Rev. Marvin Winins

    by captainlaser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:56:01 AM PDT

  •  People are so short-sighted. As the mother of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, chicagobleu

    kids with special needs, I know they will someday need additional care. My sweet Granny is also about to require full-time assistance. People don't stop and ask themselves if they would want their own, or their children's or their grandparents' caregivers to be paid so little that the hard and VITAL work they do, even if it is just BEING THERE, is neglected. What kind of assholes would even propose this? Oh yeah assholes that are also Senators from Tennessee, Nebraska, etc. Hurry everybody, we've got to win this race to the bottom!

    •  My mother-in-law for a time (0+ / 0-)

      required more care than her assisted living residence could provide (mainly extra help with the bathroom); she had a private caregiver for that time who slept in her room overnight (in case Mom needed help in the middle of the night) and worked with her in the morning to get her ready. Wonderful woman -- extremely intelligent, knew her stuff, and even helped Mom with some of her other daily tasks (like sorting papers) which took a lot of pressure off of my spouse and me.

      Mom's currently in a rehab center working on getting her strength back and learning how to handle the toilet transfer easier, so hopefully she'll no longer need the extra help but if she does I hope she can get the same caregiver back.

      Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:07:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why are conservative Christian White Males, (0+ / 0-)

    so EVIL???? I don't care whose toes I stepped on, I don't care whose fee-fees are hurt, I don't  give a f--k anymore!
    I am calling it as I see it, and what I am seeing is pure unadulterated callous evil!!!

    One does not simply walk into Mordor! One invites a gas driller in, and one’s land becomes Mordor. Chris From Balloon Juice

    by Mr Stagger Lee on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:04:37 AM PDT

    •  I'm agnostic through and through, (0+ / 0-)

      but the current GOP has forced me to seriously consider whether there is some force for evil working in the world -- what many religious traditions iconified as demons and devils. What makes Republican "values" different is not the depth of the evil -- we've seen plenty of that before in the world-- but the lack of any detectable benefit to themselves or anyone else if their agenda succeeds. Theirs is the drive of the schoolroom bully or the serial killer -- the need to hurt and destroy just for the sake of hurting and destroying.

      In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

      by DaveW on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:53:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Poor wages bring poor care (0+ / 0-)

    My mother and stepdad were consistently ripped off and treated badly by home care workers who I suspect were unemployable anywhere else.  When my stepdad died, we fired mom's worker for cause and got her credentials revoked (we caught her plotting to help my stepdad's brother walk off with the estate.  She also made some false elder abuse reports that were investigated and refuted).

    The only decent care mom received is when my oldest sister moved in with her to be a 24-hour attendant--a job she did with dedication and grace.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:06:01 AM PDT

  •  I Said They'd Run Against the Economy When (0+ / 0-)

    Obama was elected; missed one thing, I didn't expect them to run formally against the American people for one more election yet.

    Well I hadn't expected Citizens United at that time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:11:46 AM PDT

  •  I was a fulltime professional liveout nanny (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for 12 years. It was hard physical work. I was also, years after that, my husband's fulltime caregiver for four years when he became disabled. It was also hard physical work. It is outrageous that home health care workers in the US are not entitled to the minimum wage.

                  Standing with these workers,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:16:45 AM PDT

  •  Minimum wage.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicagobleu, cocinero

    For all the caring elected DC critters who would deny even the minimum wage to people who work long, hard hours....try living on the minimum wage.
    And then imagine what it's like to earn even less.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:18:22 AM PDT

  •  If you want good help... you gotta pay for it... (0+ / 0-)

    otherwise, the kids have to come home, set up shop in the basement and back room and do that work for the family in exchange for lodgings.

    That'll work. ;o)

    Seriously, in other countries people live in houses out to grandparents, grand aunts and uncles and cousins...

    Yes. We are spoiled.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:25:30 AM PDT

  •  one of my former tenants earende $35 a night (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    she didn't go to work in an ICE STORM  so the agency she worked for fired her. they then fought her unemployment claim. i wrote a letter to bring to her hearing.

    republicans are so mean and greedy. i'll never, ever understand it.

  •  One more reason I'm a democrat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and voting for Obama

  •  Many of the current Republicans oppose (0+ / 0-)

    the whole concept of a minimum wage law. The feel that it interferes with "freedom," i.e. the freedom of the 1% to pay workers as little as possible and work them as long as possible. Just like the Blunt amendment controversy, the GOP supports the freedom of bosses, not workers.

    We believe the market, not the government, should set the "minimum wage."
    Republican Party of Iowa Platform (proposed, 2012)
  •  Are maid service employees, (0+ / 0-)

    for example, under the same exemption? If not, this is truly bizarre and exploitative. Home care workers need more training, are under heavier supervision, and have more responsibility than other personal service providers, yet are treated like shit. This is just another Republican opportunity to kick the most victimized workers in the face. Romney's "I enjoy firing those who serve me" was no some "gaffe" -- it was a flash of light exposing the depths of the GOP bully-boy soul.

    In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

    by DaveW on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

  •  It's "women's work!" (0+ / 0-)

    Them wimmens don't deserve to get paid more, because they are shiftless, lazy and don't work hard. (sarcasm)

    They totally ignore that they may be supporting families, and some stay overnight with their clients, so are on call 24 hours a day when they are there.

    I worked with one place that didn't count the time "sleeping" in the pay. We were only paid for the hours we were "awake" with the client. It was claimed to be above minimum wage, but when you counted all the hours we were there it was way below.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:09:50 PM PDT

  •  ok, I've years of experience in this field (0+ / 0-)

    I worked as a nursing home worker while attempting to get into nursing school. (thought it would be good on resume)
    Later I performed as my son's IHSS worker (in california we've a program called in home support services to assist seniors and the disabled).
    luckily in california IHSS workers are unionized, so do make above the minimum wage.  They do not make overtime. and they do not pay into social security! Anyway, the work is hard, physically demanding and emotionally demanding.  You become attached to the people you care for, but their situation is precarious and it is easy to lose them, to death, moving because their relatives move, or because they move to another facility for heavier levels of care.  You often have to cover for others and this requires heavy overtime (not covered by overtime laws) generally, not work that would be sought by anybody with better choices.  The lack of pay is only adding insult to injury.

  •  And the Homecare companies that employ them charge (0+ / 0-)

    the patients in excess of $5K per month.  For what? Administrative costs???

    "Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical criminal" -- Logical Song -- Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson

    by Over50Lib on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:57:38 PM PDT

  •  Disgusting (0+ / 0-)

    These people--home health workers--are professional in so many ways. They not only deal with the mundane and tedious, but the unpleasant and tragic. These women contend with dysfunctional families, cantankerous, senile, depressed, demented clients. Sometimes they are the only companions these people have.

    What galls me is how the politicians are so eager to demean the services of so-called 'low skilled workers'. From excluding domestic workers and farm laborers from Social Security to Newt Gingrich and janitors, there has been a concerted effort to marginalize workers who make civilized life possible.

    I'd like to see any of these guys spend a day, wiping and cleaning feces, emptying urine bags, fixing meals, cleaning homes all the while being cursed at and demeaned. They wouldn't last 5 minutes.

    As I've said before, the way back for this country is to begin to honor the work of one's hands and brow and not to praise the slickest at spending and investing other people's money.

    "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

    by never forget 2000 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:27:38 PM PDT

  •  I love the way people have pre conceived notions.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...that HOME HEALTH CARE WORKERS may not know what is going on politically, be educated or know how to vote.

    I have worked for 3 presidential campaigns as staff. I vote. I am an elected official locally (non partisan and no pay). For my day job, I am also a home health care worker/CNA. Here in Florida, that is about the only job one can get if one is not a nurse, doctor, working in some facet of the tourism industry or doing something to rip other people off.

    Most of the people that live here in the winter are seniors.

    We make the least amount of money, we are devalued as people, abused by the patients themselves, by the agencies we work for, by the families and by other workers and yet we still continue to care for the patients (but our bosses call them clients because they see $$$ and not care).

    We are expected to pay for our own gas (nurse's get theirs comped) keep up with our continuing education credits that most of the time we pay for and we also pay for our own fingerprinting, background checks, etc., so we can be continue to be licensed by the state. Nurses get all of that comped too.

    We work long hours, if someone calls off, sometimes we can end up being with a patient for over 24 hours or more. In many situations, we do not sleep. Our families suffer, most of the time when we get home, we don't have the energy to care for our families because we are sapped. And forget a personal life.

    Paying bills with our salary? Forget it. I used to stay with a patient 4 days and nights a week. I made $150 per diem. That may seem like a lot but divide it up with all of those hours and it was a little over $5 an hour. Way below minimum wage. And these agencies are getting away with it.

    We have needed a union here for a long time. It is way PAST  time.

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