Home health care aides often work tough jobs for little pay and little appreciation. One home health care worker allegedly found a unique way to show her former employer exactly how she felt about her job.
Connecticut home health care aide Fiona Clarke turned herself in last week after the family of the elderly woman that she used to work for found feces in the woman’s refrigerator and oven, the Norwalk Hour reports. The family asked Clarke to work more hours and, when she refused, they hired another aide to cover the extra shifts. Clarke began acting rude towards the new worker and the family ultimately let her go.
Clarke’s actions may seem extreme, but she works in one of the most underpaid and underappreciated sectors in the workforce. There are 2.5 million home health care workers in the country, according to NPR. But while demand for the job is increasing as Baby Boomers grow old, their median wage is less than $10 per hour.
Home health care workers have also been exempt from minimum wage laws for decades, thanks to a 1974 loophole that classified them in a category similar to babysitters. President Barack Obama proposed rules in December 2011 that would ensure home health care aides are protected under minimum wage law, but the provision has yet to be finalized.
In addition, though they perform a sometimes vital function, many home health care aides get no training at all. In some cases, home health care aides are recruited off of Craigslist and other similar sources, only to be placed into the homes of elderly patients with little vetting, according to a recent study at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.