The battle for higher wages is nothing new in home care, and progress has often been slow-going. Now, home care workers in at least one Midwestern state are now on track to make $15 per hour and receive overtime wages.
The Illinois Senate voted last week to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of legislation that would increase home care workers’ wages by $2 per hour, The Associated Press reported. Afterward, the Senators approved new legislation to enable disabled patients in the state’s home-services program to pick their own home care aides, even if the aides will have to be paid overtime.
Home care workers’ pay raise will occur if the Illinois House of Representatives also votes to override Rauner’s veto. Rauner originally vetoed the legislation due to cost, AP reported.
Additionally, the Illinois Senate approved legislation permitting overtime pay for home care aides who work more than 40 hours per week. The bill would mean clients could keep familiar caregivers, even if they have to work more than 40 hours a week.
All the while, some aspects of Illinois’ aging services programming remain in limbo.
The Illinois House voted last week, for instance, not to override Gov. Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have maintained a state-run aging-in-place program, The Southern Springfield Bureau reported.
Now, Illinois’ Department on Aging plans to change the state’s community care program, shifting the more than 40,000 people in the program who aren’t Medicaid-eligible into the department’s new community reinvestment program.
Some officials in the Rauner administration believe the community reinvestment program will save Illinois $200 million a year by providing services in a more efficient way. Under the new program, for example, a laundry service would likely pick up and drop off an individual’s laundry, as opposed to the state paying a home care worker to do the laundry.
However, the new community reinvestment program is nothing more than “a pilot program that has not been tested,” Democratic State Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s sponsor, argued.
If the program fails, it could lead to more elderly Illinoisans moving into skilled nursing facilities, which would end up costing the state more, Harris added.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson