NY Times: Caregivers Fight Uphill Wage Battle

Domestic laborers such as caregivers and home care workers earn a median wage of about $10 an hour with few receiving benefits of any kind, according to a study by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. 

A New York Times article reported the survey’s results and found that pay differentiates across ethnicity, immigration status and whether or not workers lived with their employers as live-in caregivers. 

The article suggests that more must be done in terms of worker’s rights to promote better job security for domestic workers, many of whom are operating below minimum wage requirements.   

The New York Times writes:

The report found that the median wage for nannies was $11 an hour, compared with a $10-an-hour median for caregivers and housecleaners. But 23 percent of the workers earned less than their state’s minimum wage, which varies but must be at least the federal level of $7.25 an hour. Domestic workers are generally not covered by federal or state minimum wage laws. 

“The upshot of the study is that domestic workers who help so many families with taking care of their loved ones and taking care of their homes often earn so little that they have a difficult time supporting their own families,” said Nik Theodore, an author of the study and an associate professor of urban policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Most domestic workers do not receive fringe benefits from their employers, the study found. About 65 percent of domestic workers reported that they did not have health insurance of any kind, and just 4 percent said they received coverage through their employer. About 82 percent said they did not receive paid sick days, and only 9 percent said their employers paid into Social Security for them.

The study found that white caregivers received a median wage of $12 an hour, Hispanic and African-American ones, $10 an hour, and Asian ones, $8.33 an hour.

Domestic workers are covered neither by federal minimum wage laws nor by most states’ minimum wage laws. Nor are they generally covered by unemployment insurance, or anti discrimination or workers’ compensation laws. 

Read the full article here.

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva