Underpaid Caretakers Cheer as Illinois Law Pushes Through Minimum Wage Increase Plan
Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) is already making good on campaign promises. The new Governor recently positioned Illinois to join several other states in signing a law raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the 81 percent increase will allow Illinois workers to see a minimum wage increase from $8.25 to $9.25 an hour. In July, minimum wage will increase to $10. Each year after that, minimum wage will increase by $1 until 2025, when it reaches $15 per hour.
The news has been well received by both caregiver home health workers and nursing home employees. For decades, the nursing home and home health care industry has remained notorious for clouding care standards with weak, ineffective, and downright lousy wages resulting in extra strains put on overworked employees. Most nursing homes actually have fewer nurses and leading medical staff than they report, leaving underqualified and stressed nursing assistants and personal aides with the 24-hour tasks to keep far too many patients’ dietary, hygiene, medication, and daily living needs met.
Pay Increases Should Trump Industry Leader Greed
Poor pay rates just make it more difficult for qualified help to make a living and for a home to retain good care workers for longer periods of times. As costs change, sustainability to manage gaps in long-term health care need to be set in place by each individual facility. These higher wages could bring stability to low-wage workers and the industries they serve, resulting in better patient care.
Unfortunately, our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers continue to work on many cases where understaffing or poorly paid staff created an easy environment for residents to become neglected, abused and mistreated. A drive to lower expenses and increase profits for owners leads those in charge of making decisions about staffing too often cutting corners at dangerous levels. And with the alarming trend in nursing home residents who are older and have more complex care needs than the population of twenty years ago, better care systems, realistic living wages for workers, and a stronger emphasis on training and hiring additional care staff should be a priority for all U.S. nursing home operators.
Care Staff Should Report Nursing Home Issues and Speak with a Lawyer
At Levin & Perconti, we recognize the frustrated, overworked and underpaid care workers who ultimately save lives by speaking up and reporting violations of the law, rules, or regulations regarding the care and treatment of nursing home residents in their charge. We frequently have care workers contacting our attorneys to share concerns or report violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. If an employer retaliates against an employee in violation of the Nursing Home Care Act, the affected employee may bring a civil action against the employer for multiple types of relief.
Consultations with our attorneys are both free and confidential. Please call us at (312) 332-2872 or complete our free online consultation request form.