As The Times’ reported Friday, home health aide is among the fastest-growing occupations in the state, according to the California Employment Development Department. The number of aides is projected to grow by more than 50% in the coming years.

One reason for the uptick in demand is that a wave of baby boomers has started retiring. No doubt, some of these new seniors will eventually require the help of aides, including live-in attendants.

But while the job may be in demand, the pay is not so great. The mean annual wage for home care aides is $21,830, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

But that could soon change, at least for live-in aides. As The Times’ editorial board writes, two proposals would extend overtime pay to those caregivers for the first time.

“One is a plan by the Obama administration to change federal labor rules to extend minimum-wage protections to in-home caregivers and to guarantee them overtime after a 40-hour week. Second — and simultaneously — there is a bill in the California Legislature that would provide overtime to those workers after an eight-hour day, and guarantee them badly needed meal breaks and the right to use their employers' kitchens to prepare meals. The two proposals complement each other, and both should be approved (although the California bill ought to be amended to match the federal proposal, providing overtime after a 40-hour week rather than an eight-hour day, thus providing more flexibility for workers and their employers).”

Surely, families and seniors may worry that extending overtime may make such care prohibitively expensive. That’s a real concern. We as a society should begin to address that issue now.  

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