Minimum Wage Increases in Eight States

Senior caregivers, minimum wage and overtime have been at the forefront of policy news lately and with good reason. By 2050, the estimated number of elderly persons who will need some type of long-term care is projected to almost double from 15 million in 2000 to 27 million. With this increase, the demand for paid caregivers is expected to rise dramatically. Most formal long-term care is provided by direct care workers, such as nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal aides, who provide basic care and essential help with daily activities, enabling people to continue to age at home. Most of these workers are paid an hourly rate.

Home health care jobs are projected to be among the fastest growing occupations in the near future.

Effective January 1, 2012, minimum wage rates in eight states rose between 28 and 37 cents. Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have all raised their minimum wage rates in an effort to keep pace with inflation. Not surprisingly, most of these states’ minimum wage already exceeded the national minimum wage of $7.25. Washington now leads all states with a minimum wage of $9.04 per hour.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, 72.9 million American workers age 16 and over were paid at hourly rates. That represents 58.8 percent of all wage workers. It is estimated that the new wage increases will affect more than 1.4 million low-income earners.

While that is great news for the many low-income workers in those states, senior caregivers in Florida, Vermont and Oregon will not see an increase in their paychecks, because minimum wage does not apply to home health care workers in those states. A recent initiative proposed by the Obama administration seeks to rectify that situation.

Elsewhere, the city and county of San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Ordinance took effect and compensation increased for hourly workers to $10.24 from $9.92. The very progressive ordinance applies to part- and full-time employees, adults and minors, employees who work at least two hours of work in a particular week in San Francisco but are not necessarily city residents—it even protects undocumented workers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) established a national minimum wage, guaranteed time-and-a-half overtime for certain jobs and prohibited the employment of minors. In July of 2009, the federal minimum wage rose from its 2007 rate of $5.15 to $7.25 per hour, when the final of three incremental increases took effect.

While the new wage hikes are certainly good news to all hourly workers, industry statistics show that home health care aides who work through reputable Senior Home Care Agencies already enjoy a mean hourly wage of $10.46. A sure way to increase your potential income is to add to your skill set by completing a professional training program to make yourself a more attractive home care candidate when applying for jobs in your area.

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Comments (2) -

  • v johnson

    1/4/2012 3:51:38 PM | Reply

    When will Georgia's pay rate increase?  We really need it here.

  • mary

    1/12/2012 12:39:55 PM | Reply

    I think texas needs a pay raise as well.

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