The only problem is that there are a serious lack of certified home caregivers to aide them. The declining numbers of Alaska caregivers and the job’s high turnover has a lot to do with low pay rates and an under-appreciation for workers. As the demand for professional and high quality home caregivers increases, a change needs to happen in the way these workers are paid and viewed by society.
In 2014, the average turnover rate for a home caregiver was 60 percent, meaning that over half of caregivers were leaving their job every year. It’s not hard to see why so many caregivers would start to seek employment elsewhere. Most caregivers are living at or below the federal poverty line. It can be difficult to support yourself or a family on only $21,000 a year, a salary that is far below the average American’s salary of $35,000.
On top of high turnover and low pay rates, home caregivers are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to their societal status. This may have to do with the fact that the majority of home caregivers belong to a marginalized group of people, with over 90 percent being women and over half people of color. All of these factors combine to put home caregivers on the top of the list of most underappreciated workers in America.
Another large part of why home caregivers are paid so low has to do with franchise home care agencies. When you become a home caregiver, you can either work with a private agency or with a franchise. Most franchise home care agencies are for-profit businesses, meaning that they pay their employees low wages so they can pocket the rest. While the home care business is a lucrative industry, most of the revenue goes straight to the top leaving the employees with next to nothing to survive on. Top franchises grossed $1 million or more, with gross margins at 30% to 40%.
Alaska’s historical move for change with the first Home care Co-operative now will put those profit margins back into worker wages.
With the emphasis on people before profit, creating community and equitable compensation and participation, Worker-Co-operatives are a concrete example of using business as a force for social and local economic development.
“By placing workers’ needs ahead of profits, we address the root cause of economic disparity.” More than half of worker co-operatives in the United States today were designed to improve low-wage jobs and build wealth in communities most directly affected by inequality, helping vulnerable workers build skills and earning potential, household income and assets.
With there emphasis on people before profit, creating community, and equitable compensation and participation, worker co-operatives are a concrete example of using business as a force for social good. Additionally, a large percentage of existing cooperatives in the U.S. were specifically developed to meet the needs of people who lack access to business ownership or even sustainable work options. As a result, worker cooperatives can be defined as social enterprises and are often associated with larger movements. (See Video)
Here in Alaska 39% of all households receiving in-home supportive senior care services from paid caregiver agencies earn less than $25,000 (48%) fall below the poverty income line.
With a population of 710,000 in Alaska, over two-fifth make their home in Anchorage. While nearly 47% are women of cultural ethnicity.
It is ACHA goal; to provide these women with opportunity for economic growth though workforce ownership and opportunity, creating employment generation and stability.