Sweet $16 is a campaign by SEIU Healthcare to increase the minimum wage for homecare personal support workers from $12.50/hour to $16/hour and fix the homecare system.
Here’s how we can make homecare better:
1. Raise the minimum wage for homecare PSWs from $12.50/hour to $16/hour
Inflation and stagnant low wages mean PSWs are making less and less each year, while executive pay and homecare administration costs continue to rise. PSWs should be paid at least $16/hour as a first step toward parity with PSWs who work in the long-term care sector, which pays an average of $20/hour. They also deserve better reimbursement for travel costs going from one client to another so that they aren’t paying to go to work.
2. Offer retirement security through a good pension plan
Just as they take care of our seniors, PSWs should have a pension that takes care of them when they retire. This could mean a new plan or inclusion in the existing Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP). Additionally, offering a good, defined benefit province-wide pension plan to homecare PSWs will act as a recruitment and retention tool for younger Ontarians entering the PSW workforce.
3. Declare homecare an essential service
Like PSW work in long-term care and hospitals, homecare is essential. The Ontario government should recognize it as an essential service because PSWs deserve respect and recognition for their important role in the larger healthcare system.
4. Provide access to standardized and ongoing continuing education and specialized training opportunities to meet the evolving needs of homecare clients
PSWs deserve access to standardized education and training. Experienced PSWs who already provide these services should not have to go through re-training, but the government must provide funding for specialized ongoing training for emerging needs, such as caring for clients with dementia.