Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Change national policy to ensure home caregivers receive paid time off
Caretakers, also known as home health aides, provide care and immediate attention to those who lack the ability to take care of themselves. With such an important responsibility, one would think that caretakers would receive optimum benefits and a worthy salary. But, in America, home health aides make as little as $19,000 a year and, what’s more, they are not eligible for paid leave.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows qualifying employees to take up to 12 weeks off to take care of an ailing loved one, care for a new child or nurse an ill spouse back to health, without endangering their jobs. The huge risk involved is that this time off is unpaid. For some caretakers who are the sole source of income in their families, it is virtually impossible for them to fathom taking time off from their jobs — especially when they don’t even make enough to get by. There are plenty of occupations that offer their employees at least a portion of their normal paycheck when taking time off — why not extend those benefits to include caretakers?
The FAMILY Act would resolve this inequity, as it provides everyone with a full-time job access to paid time off. Caregivers will no longer have to choose between looking after their own families or paying their bills. Every eight seconds an American turns 65, causing our need for care to grow exponentially in coming years. We need our caregivers and home health aides, but sometimes their own families need them more. Sign the petition to tell President Obama to activate the FAMILY Act so caregivers receive paid leave and full medical benefits.
Dear President Obama,
It has come to my attention that caregivers, also known as home health aides, are ineligible for paid leave. Not only am I upset by this, I am concerned as well. How, on less than $19,000 a year, can a caregiver afford to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off? Though the Family Medical Leave Act assures workers that they have a job to come back to, it is essential that they receive at least a portion of their normal paychecks to cover expenses — like rent, utility bills or medical costs for their ailing loved one.
Home health aides are an important part of many Americans’ lives. We trust them with the most important thing to us: our families. Shouldn’t they be compensated when their own families are in need of their optimum care?
I urge you, President Obama, to consider rectifying the Family Medical Leave Act and to activate the FAMILY Act as soon as possible. Caregivers need not worry about making a choice between family or paying bills.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dave and Les Jacobs via gettyimages