Working in long-term care by day, sleeping in a shelter by evening: The financial realities of life as a PSW


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Muckle mentioned one of many photographs that “ripped my guts out” throughout the first wave of the pandemic was seeing private assist staff in full protecting gear heading off on foot from the shelter to stroll to work.

Due to employees shortages, long-term care staff had been in a position to work, even when they’d been in touch with a optimistic case and had been in isolation. However due to that potential contact, they weren’t in a position to get on a bus and had no choice however to stroll.

“You know the way in each occasion there’s a image that sticks with you? That one broke my coronary heart,” she mentioned.

“They might stand up, placed on their PPE and stroll to work. They’re poor and making an attempt to earn sufficient to have the ability to get housing. They will’t afford to not be paid. I keep in mind watching them stroll down the street and pondering ‘It is a low level in my COVID expertise.’ It’s unhappy.”

Though private assist staff acquired a $four an hour pandemic pay enhance throughout among the pandemic, it has been sporadic. As well as, staff are solely allowed to work at one well being establishment throughout the pandemic to cut back COVID-19 unfold. However as a result of many staff wouldn’t have full-time hours, that has created a monetary disaster for some staff, she mentioned. It additionally inspired some long-term care staff to maneuver to different jobs, usually in retail, the place they had been additionally at excessive threat of contracting COVID-19.

“They aren’t being paid something near a residing wage,” Muckle mentioned.

There was widespread requires higher pay and higher hours for long-term care staff. The inquiry has advisable extra full-time hours for long-term care staff — who usually work in a number of properties as a result of they don’t obtain sufficient hours to assist themselves, or advantages.