I am a homecare worker, delivering home health and home support services in Kincardine and area for The Red Cross. I’m writing to inform the community of our current situation.
Ontario homecare workers work hard and deliver quality service. With low wages, no pension and no benefits, our employment conditions are well below the standards set for colleagues working in facilities and hospitals.
Providing homecare requires that I must travel between clients. Many homecare workers, like myself, spend as much time on the road getting to clients as we do actually providing care to them. Currently this time spent on the road travelling between clients is unpaid, but is demanded of us. It’s actually part of our job description to travel, but we don’t get paid for this time on the road. This means some workers are out for 8-10 hours a day but only getting paid for 4-6 hours of work.
I ask you, is that fair?
We do get some compensation for mileage, but at a meager 32 cents per kilometer. With today’s gas prices it often results in the worker cutting into their weekly pay just to fill the tank. We maintain our vehicles out of our own pockets and fill our tanks to get to those people who need our care.
I know the homecare system can be improved. Compensation for all of our work, including travel time, is very important. Fair wages, mileage compensation and work protections for homecare workers – like all other workers – is the place to start.
I love the work I do and know I’m a professional delivering the kind of care that’s essential to the health of patients I meet each week.
But at the present working conditions, a lot of the current homecare workers will not be able to continue providing care to these family members, friends and neighbours, because they can no longer afford to get there.
I ask if delivery people were only paid while they were actually handing over their items and not while on the road in between deliveries, do you think we would have many deliveries being done?
We home care workers deliver a service also and are asking that we are treated fairly and paid for the work we do.
At a time when the healthcare sector is relying heavily on our services for seniors, discharged hospital patients and others requiring care and support, homecare workers are being pushed to their limits and are being pressured by poor working conditions and low wages to leave the profession.
Change must occur!
I encourage you to contact our local MP/MPP and make them aware of this situation.
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