Recognizing that the coronavirus pandemic “brings into sharp focus the risks to people’s health that follow from low pay for direct care professionals,” LeadingAge, the trade association of not-for-profit health and social services providers, has issued a new report, Making Care Work Pay, that calls for paying direct care workers “at least a living wage.” Improving wages as the report proposes would give raises to more than three-quarters of direct care workers in residential care settings, like nursing homes, and home health.
Using economic simulations, the report finds that raising wages of direct care workers would reduce staff shortages, reduce staff turnover, improve health care quality, improve worker productivity, improve the financial security of direct care workers, reduce workers’ reliance on needs-based public benefit programs, and improve state and local economies.
While the report does not identify who would the bear the costs of wage increases for workers, it finds “The emerging literature suggests that cost savings flowing from improvements in care quality may, alone, be enough to pay for wage increases.” (Report 5). In other words, raising direct care workers’ wages could pay for itself, just by improving care for residents.
To read Making Care Work Pay: How Paying at Least a Living Wage to Direct Care Workers Could Benefit Care Recipients, Workers, and Communities, please go to: https://leadingage.org/sites/default/files/Making%20Care%20Work%20Pay%20Report.pdf?_ga=2.118488393.1154178586.1601481977-1021098696.1598989890.
October 15, 2010 – T. Edelman