Giving Voice to New Jersey's Caregivers: The Union Experiences of Home-Based Child Care Providers

Source: Linda Houser, Elizabeth Nisbet, Karen White, Center for Women and Work Rutgers, May 2012

From the press release:
Home-based child care providers spend their days caring for some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens: its children. But these caregivers – who are disproportionately women, work long hours, may have hourly pay below minimum wage, and lack health insurance and other benefits – are also a vulnerable group of New Jerseyans.

A new study released by the Center for Women and Work (CWW) at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University describes how home-based workers have fared three years after unionization and only four years after they gained the right to organize….

The study’s key findings include:
– High levels of economic vulnerability intersect with high levels of work effort. More than half of all respondents reported household incomes of less than $25,000 annually, yet, on average, they provide nearly 39 hours a week of care.
– A third of home-based child care providers have no health insurance, and most of the insured depend on public insurance. Past research suggests that, in addition to limited access to health care, they have limited options to miss work for illness.
– In contrast to their levels of formal education, respondents are a highly experienced and well-trained group, with an average of 12.5 years providing child care, and with 91% reporting at least one training in the past 12 months and 42% reporting at least one certificate, permit, or credential.
– The majority of workers believed access to information about regulations, benefits and services, and the ability to address problems, had improved since unionization. Prior to unionization many providers were unaware of the amount of reimbursement for care to which they were legally entitled.
– The survey also uncovered a high level of interest in training, particularly training on children’s special needs or toward an associate degree in child development, and the view that the union was helping improve access to training.

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