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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Some Illinois Caregivers Get Small Raise In Pay, Another Court Filing Can Cost The State - Again

Illinois - After frequent stories of caregivers earning around $10 an hour even after years of work, suburban aides who care for people with disabilities are getting a pay raise.

Article by Kerry Lester for the Daily Herald | July 17, 2017                                                           
The 75-cent-an-hour raise -- buried deep within the state budget passed earlier this month by the legislature -- will cost the state $53 million next year and go to 34,000 workers. Average pay statewide will increase from its current $9.35 to $10.10 an hour.

Ray Graham Association President and CEO Kim Zoeller tells me the move certainly is appreciated but it's far from enough. The DuPage County nonprofit has more than 90 of its 250 caregiver positions open after many workers left for higher-paying jobs in fast food or retail.

With those gaps, Zoeller says, the agency no longer is able to devote time to take residents into the community for such things as church services or grocery shopping. Ray Graham serves 2,000 disabled children and adults in the suburbs and operates 23 group homes.

New campaign                                                                            

Zoeller says after the "dust settles" in Springfield over the passage this month of the state's first budget in two years, a coalition of 60 organizations employing caregivers and calling itself "They Deserve More" will begin to lobby lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner anew.

"With Cook County's recent minimum wage hike (to $13 an hour by 2020), it makes it even more critical for providers to have that funding in order to be competitive," Zoeller says.

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