Home health workers say their wages and lack of benefits are unsustainable and need to be changed federally.
Toledo resident Amina Nash was one of many homeworkers who spoke to U.S. Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey at a recent needs roundtable. of these health and other service employees.
Nash works in the health field, but more than that, she takes care of nine children, some of whom are cousins ââthat she is raising as herself.
âI have to work seven days a week to make ends meet,â Nash told the roundtable, adding that she was worried about having enough money week to week.
Nash is part of a nationwide network of workers who, according to the Economic Policy Institute, are paid less in a year than other workers and are more than twice as likely to work part-time because their occupation does not provide enough full-time hours.
In a study of domestic worker wage gaps, the EPI found that in 2018, domestic workers in the United States earned less than $ 16,000, compared to the more than $ 39,000 median annual earnings than others. workers earn in the country.
Brown said it was important for lawmakers, at the federal and state levels, to view infrastructure not only as roads and bridges, but also as human labor.
âHearing (Nash’s) storyâ¦ you work harder than anyone I know,â Brown said.
Brown said the plight of healthcare has been around for decades, including that of his own mother-in-law, who he said was a home aide.
âI know how hard she worked and I know how low paid she was, and that’s just plain wrong,â Brown said.
Brown and Casey were on the call to promote their “Better Care and Better Jobs Act,” introduced in June, which would open up grant funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to states to improve “access, l use and associated labor. âTo the home and community service industry, depending on the language of the bill.
The bill seeks to build on short-term home and community services funded by the US bailout. Under the bill, states could be eligible for a 10% increase in federal Medicaid matching for home and community services, and fund improvements to infrastructure plans to expand access to those services.
Nash and his colleagues would like to see higher pay and proper personal protective equipment as part of their work in the midst of the pandemic, but the benefits of caring for their families, clients and communities are a top priority.
âI just hope you all take into consideration the hard work and dedication we put into our customers and our families as well,â Nash said.
The bill has not been scheduled for committee consideration. It has 39 cosponsors, all Democrats or independents. Brown is the only member of the Ohio Congressional delegation to have signed on as a cosponsor.
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