Posted by Direct Care Alliance on May 29th, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News
The Massachusetts Senate is deciding whether to give home care workers a much-needed raise.
Watch this excellent program from NJTV’s Due Process about why home care workers and other low-wage workers need paid time off.
Contract workers are a fast-increasing percentage of the workforce, in direct care and elsewhere—and that’s a worrisome trend.
Let’s not let technology run amok: A reminder that robots can never take the place of human beings in the very personal business of direct care work.
The Library of Congress is funding research on home health care workers by a University of Oregon team.
A heroic direct care worker saved 20 residents after fire broke out in an adult foster care home in Detroit.
The mammoth national Home Instead Senior Care franchise is bringing staff training online.
A home care worker in England is threatening to sue for being issued a parking ticket while visiting a client.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on May 5th, 2014 at 10:23 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News
An Older Americans Month toolkit from Eldercare Workforce Alliance helps journalists and other stakeholders find publications, programs, and personal stories that focus on the health and safety of older Americans from EWA member organizations—including DCA.
“Home care services are among the most important work there is, and if we want it to be done well, dedicated home care workers should be compensated at a level that reflects their commitment and skills,” says an editorial in Maine’s Portland Press-Herald.
Vermont home care workers have reached a tentative agreement with the state that includes significant raises and an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
An excellent new publication from Center for Law and Social Policy explains a crucial but often overlooked part of compensation: direct care workers and other low-income workers are far less likely to get paid leave than higher-wage workers. The brief describes recent and pending laws and policies aimed at leveling the paid time off playing field.
Want to know how to find and keep good direct care workers? Higher pay attracts talented staff, this study finds, but that alone is not enough. To keep them, you also need good working conditions. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on April 22nd, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Comments Off on Talking About #fairpay
Last week Direct Care Alliance, 9to5 and the National Partnership for Women & Families co-hosted a tweet chat about why women still earn much less than men and what we can do to change that.
Equal pay for women is an important issue for direct care workers–and not just because 90% of all direct care workers are women. Like teaching, child care and other forms of “care work,” direct care is a traditionally female profession that pays less than it should because it has been pigeonholed–and devalued–as “women’s work.” And even within the profession, female direct care workers earn less than male workers on average.
Here are highlights from the chat.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on March 24th, 2014 at 11:44 am | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News
Watch HBO’s Paycheck to Paycheck, the story of CNA and single mother Katrina Gilbert, free of charge on the Shriver Report website.
A brief on the problems caused by unstable work schedules–like those of home care workers–and policy approaches that would help.
A New York Times feature about the challenges of raising a family on under $10.10 an hour features Erika McCurdy, a nurse’s aide in Tennessee.
Unions and the state of California are battling over the right to overtime pay for IHSS home care workers.
The executive director of an ARC in New York state urged the legislature to include a 3 percent raise for direct service staff, saying low wages make recruitment and retention difficult.
More progress on paid sick days: New York’s mayor has signed a measure that will extend paid sick days to 1.3 million more New Yorkers as of April 1 and a National Partnership for Women & Families fact sheet presents evidence of the economic benefits of paid sick days from the four jurisdictions with the longest-running laws: San Francisco, Washington, DC, Connecticut and Seattle.
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on March 11th, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Comments Off on Direct Care Workers in the News
Olympia Dukakis on why we need to take better care of home care aides, who take such good care of the rest of us.
This ad from the Healthcare for All Virginians Coalition—including DCA—features quotes from GOP governors who expanded their states’ Medicaid programs.
A direct care worker in Britain is leading a campaign to encourage more people–especially men–to join her profession. Meanwhile a British activities director is urging more of his fellow men to become care workers, also in order to head off a “drastic” looming shortage.
Direct care workers are lobbying for better pay and better care in Illinois, Washington and Delaware.
NPR reporter Daniel Zwerdling is looking for CNAs, nurses and others at hospitals and nursing homes who have suffered on the job injuries. If that applies to you, check out this online survey.
A retired CNA in Wisconsin won a million-dollar lottery. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on February 11th, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Comments Off on The State of Direct Care Workers
Carla D. Washington
“Everyone seems to agree, as the President emphasized several times in his State of the Union address, that people who work full-time should not live in poverty,” writes Direct Care Alliance Executive Director Carla Washington in the Huffington Post. But for far too many direct care workers, she goes on, “hard work does not pay off, except in the satisfaction it gives them and the relationships they form with the people they assist.”
In The State of the Direct Care Worker, Washington writes about how helping to improve wages and benefits for direct care workers, one of the nation’s poorest paid and fastest-growing workforces, is a powerful way to achieve goals the President outlined in his State of the Union Address–things like narrowing the income gap and making progress toward allowing everyone who works hard to share in the fruits of the American dream.
Posted by Jessica Brill Ortiz on December 17th, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Comments Off on How the FAMILY Act Will Help Direct Care Workers, Their Clients, and Our Economy
Earlier this month, DCA was invited to join a MomsRising “blog carnival” in support of a new bill that would make paid family and medical leave available to nearly all workers in the U.S. This piece, by DCA’s Jessica Brill Ortiz, ran as part of the series.
Read DCA’s press statement about the bill.
Jessica Brill Ortiz
December 12 was an important day in the fight to help direct care workers and their families and other hard-working people in the U.S. On that day, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), a national paid family and medical leave program, into Congress.
Under the bill, nearly all U.S. workers would be able to take a limited period of time off from work while receiving a portion of their wages in order to address a serious health condition of their own or of a parent, spouse, domestic partner or child. Workers would also be eligible for the leave for pregnancy, childbirth, to care for a new child and for certain types of military leave or caregiving for a military spouse.
Good for direct care workers and their families
As Rachel Lyons of the National Partnership for Women & Families explained in a Direct Care Alliance (DCA) Q&A, the bill would build on a foundation created 20 years ago by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA has allowed millions of workers to take job-protected leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious health problem of their own, but about 40% of the U.S. workforce is not eligible for FMLA leave. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on October 8th, 2013 at 9:13 am | Comments Off on Advocates Gear Up to Support Paid Family Leave Bill
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act), a bill that would make paid family and medical leave available to nearly all America’s workers, is expected to be introduced very soon in Congress. DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian talked to Rachel Lyons, Government Affairs Manager for the National Partnership for Women & Families, about the bill and how it would benefit direct care workers and the people they assist.
What would this bill do for direct care workers and other American workers?
The FAMILY Act would create a paid family and medical leave insurance program that would bring the nation’s employment safeguards more in line with the needs of the 21st century workforce and the rest of the world. We lag behind most other nations in providing paid leave for new parents, to address one’s own serious health condition or to take care of an ill family member. For example, the US is one of only eight nations worldwide that don’t provide some sort of paid maternity leave.
This bill would create a national insurance program that would allow people to take time off with some wage replacement for a number of reasons: their own illness; bringing a new child into a family through pregnancy and childbirth, adoption, or fostering; taking care of a family member with a serious illness; or certain kinds of leave related to military service. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on August 12th, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Comments Off on Learn About Your FMLA Rights and Share Your Stories
As part of its year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the National Partnership for Woman and Families, which was instrumental in getting the law passed, has issued a new guide to FMLA. The guide clearly explains who is and is not covered, how to use your FMLA leave and what to do if your employer violates your FMLA rights.
FMLA is a national law that allows workers to take job-protected leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious health problem of their own. It has helped millions of workers and their families since it was implemented on August 5, 1993, but millions more—including many direct care workers—are unable to benefit from it, most of them because they work part-time, work for too small an employer, or earn too little to afford to take unpaid time off.
The new guide is part of a year-long campaign by the National Partnership and its allies, including Direct Care Alliance, to amend the law so it can help working families even more. Continue reading »
Posted by Direct Care Alliance on February 4th, 2013 at 7:21 pm | 1 Comment »
February 5 marks the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the family-friendly law that allows workers to take job-protected leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or seriously ill family member, or to recover from a serious health problem of their own. Vicki Shabo is director of work and family programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families, a leader in the effort to expand the FMLA so it can be of use to more workers. Ms. Shabo recently talked to DCA’s Elise Nakhnikian about what FMLA does and doesn’t cover and the improvements she and her ally organizations—including Direct Care Alliance—are advocating for.
What does the FMLA do exactly, and who does it cover?
The FMLA of 1993 is the nation’s only law that helps men and women manage work when family and medical needs arise. Eligible workers are entitled to 12 weeks of leave a year to deal with their own serious health condition or the serious health of a child, spouse or parent, or to care for a new baby or an adopted or foster child who has just come into the family. It also provides 26 weeks of protected leave per year for a spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin to care for a covered member of the military with a serious injury or illness.
So employers have to give you time off, but they don’t have to pay you for it?
It’s unpaid leave, but it’s job-protected. You can take the leave and come back to the same job, in most cases, or to an equivalent job. Your health insurance is also continued during that time, if you have health insurance. Continue reading »