Thousands of Illinois’ home care workers who help seniors are asking for a wage increase— before the state’s minimum wage reaches $15 an hour in 2025.
Workers say home care agencies under the state’s Community Care Program (CCP) should receive a higher pay rate from the state. Lawmakers in Springfield are considering a proposal that would increase the home care rate to support a $13 minimum wage by this summer.
Sherry Morris, a home care worker in Central Illinois for seven years, said when agencies are paid more, workers will also see a hike in their base wage.
“We need this,” she said. “We need this not only for us, but we need it for our elderly because they need us; and we can only go to them if we can afford to go to them.”
Home care workers provide services like cleaning, bathing, and running errands, to help seniors remain in their homes living independently.
Supporters of a wage increase say agencies are struggling to recruit home care workers, so keeping competitive wages as the state’s minimum wage also increases could help attract interest.
“So many young people, they can find something better to do that pays better, they can go work at McDonald’s and that is what they kind of do,” Morris said. “They don’t stay very long because they don’t have enough money to live on.”
The CCP home care rate is $18.29 while caregivers earn a minimum of $10.67. If the General Assembly approves the proposal, that CCP rate would increase to $21.64 by July 1, 2019, which would be used to cover a raise for home aides.