America's Hottest Job Pays $9.70 an Hour

Home health care aides are in high demand, but face many problems
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2013 1:23 PM CDT
Updated Mar 16, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
America's Hottest Job Pays $9.70 an Hour
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, home health aide Maria Fernandez, left, pours cereal for Herminia Vega, 83, right, as she performs household chores for Vega and her husband.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The good news for a struggling economy: One home health aide company plans to hire 45,000 aides this year, which should give you an idea of how quickly the business is growing. The not-so-good news: Average hourly pay for a position as an aide, currently the fastest-growing job in America according to Labor Department stats, is just $9.70, CNNMoney reports. What does the job involve? The caregivers, who number almost 2 million so far and are mostly women and minorities, do everything from cooking and cleaning to bathing and changing bedpans in-home for elderly and disabled people. And, thanks to an obscure provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act, they're just like babysitters in the eyes of the law.

That means that in addition to making about $20,000 a year if they work full-time (many are part-time) and receiving no benefits, they're also exempt from federal minimum wage and overtime laws—and about 25% of them make less than minimum wage. Not surprisingly, 40% of aides rely on Medicaid, food stamps, or other forms of public assistance. The number of in-home health workers is expected to swell 70% between 2010 and 2020 thanks to an aging population, and President Obama has been trying to change the law, but the industry says it has to keep the service affordable. "What you have is a situation here where the people that we count on to care for our families cannot take care of their own, and that's got to change," says the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. (Read more nurses aides stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.