“It’s time to look at how we value home care work” – The Conversation

“Caring is work”

home care workersCare is work. Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

“There are two million home care workers in the United States. They change diapers, administer medications, bathe and dress people and transfer the immobile from one place to another. They also take care of tasks that are mundane annoyances to most of us — doing the dishes, cooking, vacuuming — but that make a world of difference to an elderly or disabled person who hopes to maintain a sense of dignity and security as they age at home.

“And they do this without overtime pay or minimum wage protections. That is because home care workers are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. This legislation has historically excluded them (and other domestic laborers) from its purview because of something called the ‘companionship rule.’ Believed to be “casual” companions to the elderly rather than laborers in the conventional sense, home care workers — even those working at for-profit agencies — have long been denied the security of a living wage. And this is despite the fact that they are on the front lines of care provision for a rapidly expanding population of elders – by 2025 there will be over 65 million Americans over 65. The profession is expected to grow, with one million more home care workers by 2022.

“As many Americans struggle to piece together care for their elderly or disabled loved ones, it’s time to look at how we value home care work.”

Read this important article in its entirety at The Conversation.

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