Skip to main content

Who are home health aides? 90% women, 50% minorities, 40% on Medicaid and food stamps.
It's the job of the future! And it's terrible! It's low-wage, low-tech, long hours, in most cases it's not covered by minimum wage or overtime protections, and it's projected to grow by 70 percent between 2010 and 2020. That's right: It's home health care work.
The average hourly wage is just $9.70 an hour, according to the Labor Department.

For those in the industry who work full-time, this amounts to roughly $20,000 a year. Many health care aides only work part-time though—and they do not receive benefits.

Under these conditions, it's no surprise then that about 40% of home aides rely on public assistance, such as Medicaid and food stamps, just to get by.

Oh, and it's common for home health care aides, like other domestic workers, to be paid less than minimum wage. The industry that exists to skim profits off the hard, low-wage labor of this overwhelmingly female, majority minority, heavily immigrant workforce insists that things couldn't be any different, that if home health care workers got overtime, their hours would be cut, leaving them taking home even less than their current poverty income and the disabled and elderly people they care for vulnerable and without adequate care. Which is one of those signs that maybe this is an industry that needs to be radically rethought. Because "this is a needed and important job" and "this job is only worth poverty wages" should be mutually exclusive statements.

Besides which, when 40 percent of people in a given job are on Medicaid or food stamps, taxpayers are covering part of the wages those people should be being paid. It's just that they should get that money—which they have earned, and then some—in their paychecks and on their benefit statements, not as public assistance subject to the constant attacks of Republican politicians and requiring the work of applying and proving they're eligible. And when this is the fastest-growing job in our economy, and the Obama administration's attempts to make it subject to minimum wage and overtime protections are met with fierce opposition, that should be a concern to everyone who has to work for a living. Because don't think it won't drag other jobs down with it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 01:11 PM PDT.

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

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Bob Johnson, bink, Sharon, vicki, KeithH, coral, jillian, dfarrah, Gooserock, TrueBlueMajority, Shockwave, simaramis, eeff, RFK Lives, gjohnsit, Creosote, concernedamerican, 88kathy, stevej, farmerhunt, chimpy, Ignacio Magaloni, Boston to Salem, sngmama, bwren, oceanview, splashy, antirove, wader, Oke, annan, mrkvica, lungfish, RandRegL, Boppy, defluxion10, houyhnhnm, lcrp, Oaktown Girl, Matt Esler, zett, Major Kong, zerelda, NapaJulie, jcrit, lyvwyr101, rolet, sebastianguy99, oortdust, sawgrass727, rapala, historys mysteries, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, JanetT in MD, subtropolis, Tonedevil, chimene, fixxit, aaraujo, Fury, Ice Blue, Savvy813, FindingMyVoice, Cory Bantic, ChuckInReno, Jim R, begone, irishwitch, vigilant meerkat, RustyBrown, tobendaro, mmontanaman, tonyahky, rl en france, raptavio, blueoasis, NBBooks, triv33, gooderservice, happy camper, CTLiberal, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, onionjim, BlueMississippi, bajadudes, blueoregon, kurt, Tom Anderson, old wobbly, FlamingoGrrl, BeninSC, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, camlbacker, Debs2, yoduuuh do or do not, DvCM, Mary Mike, mommyof3, sfbob, joedemocrat, 99 Percent Pure, HCKAD, jayden, cyncynical, mudslide, madgranny, revm3up, misterwade, also mom of 5, Roger Fox, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Arlys, Involuntary Exile, tofumagoo, Cassandra Waites, RandomNonviolence, smartdemmg, Gemina13, petulans, luckylizard, venger, BYw, HarpboyAK, JamieG from Md, litoralis, greengemini, LinSea, Magick Maven, Pariah Dog, dharmasyd, Carol in San Antonio, War on Error, prgsvmama26, RageKage, sfarkash, spicecakes69, Larsstephens, Words In Action, commonmass, brentbent, The Distillery, Renie57, FogCityJohn, eXtina, Susan Grigsby, Polly Syllabic, ATFILLINOIS, gulfgal98, pixxer, Kristina40, sharonsz, melfunction, Betty Pinson, DrTerwilliker, ericlewis0, slice, Onomastic, annieli, kerflooey, StateofEuphoria, ban nock, bgblcklab1, kirbybruno, freesia, La Gitane, BlueJessamine, Mistral Wind, Teiresias70, Sarenth, Lusty, MasterfullyInept, thomask, floridablue, Grandma Susie, cailloux, SteelerGrrl, Book of Hearts, Sunspots, DRo, big mouth, Mentatmark, wolf advocate, Cordyc, anodnhajo, IndieGuy, ahumbleopinion, David54, Horace Boothroyd III, carolanne, BusyinCA, MartyM, oldpotsmuggler, Noddy, arizonablue, rat racer, brook, Glen The Plumber, George3, Windowpane, maf1029, ShoshannaD, nuclear winter solstice, desert rain, Eric Twocents, jbob, remembrance, JayRaye, bogieshadow, gypsytoo, Yo Bubba, Jollie Ollie Orange, Constantly Amazed, LaraJones, tampaedski, Mickquinas, Friend in Miami, OceanDiver, starduster, Dodgerdog1

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site