The minimum wage was never meant to serve as a means for a single individual to support a household.
I believe it is ill advised to allow minimum wage workers to be encouraged to cling to this unrealistic expectation of independence. I believe it will be catastrophic for businesses. I believe is will render most members of the public unable to afford to pay for the service. I know it will cost many PCAs their jobs.
Raising the minimum wage will simply serve to trigger the escalation of wages for everyone; then produce an uptick in the cost of living for all for us. This is an obvious pattern, born out time and time again.
Advocating for a higher minimum wage is an antiquated, unimaginative, knee jerk, cusping on irresponsible, approach to ‘solving the problems’ of the working poor. It is one which has historically not in the best interest of the workers it claims to protect, nor the rest of society that has to pay the freight.
Raising the minimum wage will not solve economic woes. The cost of living simply goes up, leaving workers trapped in the same place they find themselves. That’s how economics works in a capitalistic society.
When will labor learn this lesson?
Raising the minimum wage will result in lost job opportunities when the country – and global society- needs them most. Real world customers and typical employers simply cannot afford to raise – and then pay- higher workers’ wages.
In this day and age, here is another reality to consider. Technology in the form of telemedicine, remote monitoring, medication reminders and administration, etc., is quickly approaching the level of quality that will result in robots competing with humans for personal care jobs. This is not science fiction anymore. It is science fact. This reality coupled with our reflexive action of the last 40 years – the action of selecting lowest cost over long term quality – is unfortunately tied to our contemporary societies mindless mantra that one choose ‘whatever is cheaper’. Now, what does that tell you? It should tell you that customers and agencies/facilities will choose to replace human workers with technology at every fiscal opportunity.
So, how can we keep our economic feet on the ground, stay calm and carry on?
How do we get a better workforce without having to price them out of service?
I humbly suggest ‘self-investment’.
Self-investment, especially in this instance consists of the elements deemed most important: it is cheap, fast and easy. Self-investment is a low cost option for PCAs and a no cost solution to employers.
Self-investment is a worthy solution to this problem. Here’s why:
- Self- investment and improvement is key to respect and success in any field of employment – not higher base wages. If you are better at your job than your competition you will naturally be more valued- whether that competition be a robot or another person.
- Self-investment in developing oneself into the best PCA possible is the right value focus for getting better paying jobs. Why? The law of supply and demand. A better developed PCA can even make more than the minimum wage since you will be more than a minimum employee; you will be of more value to employers and clients.
Self investment by PCAs in their own professional education and development
(like all the rest of us had to do) is the answer to the problem, not raising the minimum wage.
Dr. Cathleen Carr, Executive Director, CertifiedCare.org