Home aides want overtime pay

    Home care aides say the region’s largest home health agency is not paying them fairly. Bayada Nurses pays aides their usual rate for overtime hours; the aides say they deserve time and a half.

    Home care aides gathered at the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg today to protest what they consider inadequate pay. But the region’s largest home health agency says — any higher pay will jeopardize the affordability of services.
    (Photo: Home care workers Natasha Maye (on the left in the colorful top) and Bernice Brown.)

    Listen:

    [audio:091201kgnurse.mp3]

    Home health aides take care of the non-medical needs for people — help them get to the bathroom, cook, dress and bathe. Those who work for Bayada Nurses don’t get paid extra when they work overtime, just their usual wage.

    Bayada’s chief communications officer, Rick Buck, says the arrangement helps to keep the service affordable for families.

    Buck: Bayada nurses has exempted its Pennsylvania aides, home makers, companions and live-ins for 21 years without a problem. The practice has allowed us to provide more work opportunities to many employees in Pennsylvania.

    But aides like Natasha Maye, who works for different agency, say they should be paid more for doing such vital tasks for clients.

    Maye: We like to keep their independence in a big way. We don’t want to take that away from them. And the agencies are not paying some of the health care workers what they deserve to be paid. So in return we cannot take care of our own families.

    Maye says some home health aides are leaving the business to find better paying work elsewhere.

    Bayada’s policy has been challenged in court, and the company is asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to clarify whether or not they have to pay extra for overtime work. An answer should come in the spring.

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