WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Home healthcare workers gathered in Holyoke Friday to learn about a bill that would raise their pay.
Friday’s informational session at WestMass ElderCare in Holyoke sent a message that home healthcare workers are among the most important, yet lowest paid workers in the state.
State Rep. Aaron Vega was a speaker at the session. He filed House Bill 350, which aims to raise the pay for home healthcare workers to $15 an hour.
Speakers talked about how for the first time, the population of people older than 65 is greater than the population of people 18 and under. There’s concerns about being able to attract enough home healthcare workers to fill the need as the baby boomer population continues to age.
“Many of them are on MassHealth and working for clients who are on MassHealth,” Vega said. “You basically have a situation where young people in poverty are taking care of old people in poverty.”
Home healthcare pay rates haven’t seen an increase since 2007.
“Unfortunately, they are up against the challenges of doing this type of job or working in fast food restaurants or other unskilled labor,” Executive Director of WestMass ElderCare Priscilla Chalmers said.
Currently, home healthcare workers have a 41% turnover rate and are paid an average of just $13.05 an hour.