Willis-Backed Measure aims to Improve Quality of Care for Seniors

NORTHLAKE, Ill. – Helping to ensure seniors are receiving quality homecare assistance, state Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, is sponsoring a legislative measure to gradually increase the wage for homecare workers to help reduce turnover and raise workforce standards.

“It is important that our seniors are receiving the best possible care inside their homes, and this legislation aims to raise the standards of homecare providers while also reducing the high turnover rate amongst workers,” said Willis. “Raising the wage for homecare workers will help to ensure quality healthcare from providers while also encouraging homecare workers to continue working with our seniors in the Community Care Program.”

The Willis-backed House Bill 5609 is an initiative of SEIU Healthcare and would gradually increase the wage of homecare workers over the next four years to $15 per hour. If passed into law, homecare workers would see a $1 increase every year beginning in July of 2018 through July of 2021. Prior to the passage of last year’s budget, which increased wages by $0.72, homecare workers had not seen a wage increase in seven years. Under Governor Rauner’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, the Community Care Program, which funds homecare workers, would see an 11 percent decrease in funding which could prevent a wage increase for homecare workers.

“The Community Care Program provides 98,000 seniors throughout Illinois with critically-needed in-home personal care and services,” said Willis. “We need to do a better job of investing in our seniors, not stripping away the services they rely on. This measure helps to do that.”

House Bill 5609 is currently assigned to the House Appropriations-Human Services committee and awaits to be called for a vote.