Why Fair Pay Matters to Your Caregiver

Sam in Waltham, MA
Jan. 11, 2019

What do grocery store baggers and golf caddies have in common? Other than having to do some heavy lifting both of these professions, on average, make more money than caregivers.

There’s no question that childcare is expensive. Yet, a fair wage for your caregiver is one of the most important investments you can make for your family. Aside from being one step closer to becoming a Fair Care Employer, paying fairly helps your caregiver support herself and her family. Here are three reasons that fair pay is important to your caregiver.

  1. Its Hard to Live Without a Living Wage

Nationally, child care workers earn an average of $10.72 per hour. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that’s a living wage for an individual in only 11 states. The average hourly rate for nannies hired on Care.com is $14.50 per hour. We know that childcare is one of the largest budgetary items for families, and it’s understandable that paying the nanny fairly seems difficult. But, a caregiver goes home, possibly to a family of her own, with the similar expenses to any other worker.

These similar expenses with low wages mean that the standard of living for caregivers doesn’t improve. In fact, one in seven child care workers lives in a family with income below the poverty line; they are 5.9 percentage points more likely to be in poverty than similar workers in other occupations.

But, paying a caregiver fairly can curb this cycle and help caregivers provide for themselves and their families.  A living wage could mean a move to a better neighborhood, which might have access to better schools for a caregiver’s kids. And, a fair wage gives her the power to put that money back into the economy. It also helps her gain financial stability so that she can focus more on her work and less on making ends meet. When your caregiver is taken care of, then you and your family are, too.

Need help figuring out what a fair wage is and how to budget? Don’t worry; we’ve got resources that can help with that.

  • To determine if you are paying a fair wage, click here
  • To find out what the living wage is in your area, click here
  • To see if you’re paying minimum wage, click here
  • For help creating your budget, go here
  • To take the Fair Care Pledge, go here

​ 2.   A Steady Paycheck Promotes Stability

Not only do fair wages help your caregiver provide for herself and her family, but they also help her become financially stable. When she knows that she will get paid every two weeks (or whenever you decided in your work agreement), she can plan accordingly. The same way that you deserve your caregiver to be timely and consistent in her duties, she deserves timely and consistent pay.

Then, she can budget her rent, bills, and other expenses. In the long run, having predictable wages can even help your caregiver establish savings. With a steady income, she can further her financial freedom by establishing credit. Having a good credit can, for example, help her and her family move to a better apartment and even get better insurance rates.

Empowering your caregiver with a stable paycheck can also shrink her stress over money. So, instead of thinking about whether or not she’ll be able to pay her bills on time, she can focus on her work and your family.

​  3.   When You Invest in Your Caregiver, She Can Invest In Herself

Giving your caregiver the validation of paying her fairly shows her that you care about her well-being. Plus, higher wages are a great way for a family to reinvest in their home and ensure the best support for everyone. When you invest in caregivers they can invest in themselves. A fair wage encourages training, which gets you a higher quality caregiver. In fact, Care.com’s Cost of Care surveys have found that parents are willing to invest more in nannies who have CPR/First Aid certifications, can speak multiple languages or can cook organic meals for the kids. A fair wage can make it possible for nannies to get skills training such as CPR. So, better training for caregivers means that your family can get better care. And, it helps turn the caregiver’s job into a career.

Like in most careers, different levels of skill build a ladder. This ladder is important for attracting caregivers and keeping them both with a family and in the care industry. When a caregiver works in a position that she can advance from, it increases her job satisfaction and makes her even better at her job.  

Affording quality care is difficult. But it is also difficult to live off of the wages that caregivers earn. When a caregiver gets paid fairly, it ensures that she can sustain herself and her family. Then she can help take care of your family to the best of her ability. And voila! You’re one step closer to creating a long-lasting, meaningful relationship with your caregiver.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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