Lives & Livelihoods: California’s Private Homecare Industry in Crisis finds that the California homecare industry is facing critical issues that strain workers and consumers alike, amid growing demand that further intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meaningful and timely public investment in the state’s homecare workforce and infrastructure is imperative to the sustainability of the industry over the next decade and beyond.
Presently, over 700,000 Californian workers — primarily immigrant women and women of color — provide homecare for nearly three million older adults and people with disabilities. Researchers examined homecare in California by surveying 500 workers and 103 consumers, conducting in-depth interviews with workers and consumers, and reviewing homecare agencies and residential facilities for the elderly.
Among other findings, the report notes:
- The lack of infrastructure in homecare leaves both consumers and workers struggling. Over half of consumers determined employment terms on their own or turned to their friends and family for guidance. Only 22% of workers reported ever taking paid sick leave.
- Nearly two-thirds of homecare workers did not earn enough to cover their daily expenses. 74% reported they did not have any type of personal retirement savings.
- Many families need financial support through public investment in order to pay their homecare workers a living wage. 76% of consumers stated they would like to pay higher wages. 85% of consumers strongly supported a universal long-term care insurance program in California.
Report authors recommend:
- Making it easier for consumers to find care and workers to find fair employers
- Formalizing the industry and making workers rights real through education, tools, and increased enforcement efforts
- Addressing the crisis of low wages
- Increasing public investment in long-term care to help consumers access and afford homecare and other long-term care