Illinois Home Care Workers Demand $20 Minimum Wage at Springfield Press Conference, Call on Lawmakers to Address Care Crisis 


The press conference escalated a statewide campaign to demand the state legislature take action to make care jobs good jobs across Illinois.

Springfield, IL – SEIU Healthcare Illinois home care workers and lawmakers held a press conference Wednesday calling for a $20 minimum wage for Community Care Program home care workers. Held at the Springfield State House Blue Room, workers and their allies called on lawmakers to take a crucial step towards making care jobs good jobs by paying care workers wages that reflect their worth, will increase worker retention and help combat the worsening care worker crisis. 

Through powerful, personal remarks, home care workers spoke up about a lack of wages that make home care in Illinois an unsustainable profession for retirement and financial stability. A livestream video of the press conference is available on SEIU Healthcare Illinois’ Facebook page.

“My husband and I have been forced to continue working into our 70s because we simply have not been paid enough to save for retirement and that’s not right. What we’re able to collect in social security won’t even cover our basic expenses,” said Sheryl Jones, Community Care Program home care worker from Chicago, Illinois. “Like many of my fellow home care workers, I have had to rely on credit cards to make ends meet because I don’t get paid enough. I feel stuck. And it is unacceptable that essential caregivers are taking on debt, and in some cases, even going bankrupt because our full-time jobs do not pay us enough.”

“Thousands of seniors across our state have nowhere to turn when it comes to their care needs and the only way to ensure they receive the home care services they need to remain living independently and safely at home is by building a strong home care workforce,” said State Representative Marcus C. Evans Jr., chief sponsor of HB 4919 which would lift pay to $20 per hour for Community Care Program home care workers.

Illinois is currently facing a deepening home care worker shortage that requires urgent action. Many seniors across the state are already going without the care they should receive due to a severe workforce shortage that is driven by low wages. 

“Right now, there are seniors in the Community Care Program going without the care they should receive because we don’t have enough workers to provide their services,” said Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. “The number of authorized Community Care Program hours not serviced has increased by 30%. This shortage exists because we don’t pay these home care workers a wage that they can support their families on. As a result, there’s a staggering 65% turnover rate in the industry.”

High turnover rates as a result of low wages and a lack of protections result in an overworked, understaffed workforce and a shortage of affordable, quality care for those Illinois residents who need it. That’s why President Kelley and home care workers emphasized the need for a $20 minimum wage throughout the press conference to stabilize and uplift the home care industry. Without another possible wage increase until January 2026, home care workers desperately demand action, asking lawmakers to live up to Illinois values and support the care industry now.

“This is a workforce dominated by women, and because our society has undervalued care work these programs have been underfunded to the point where seniors cannot access essential services they depend on because there simply are not enough of us to go around. We must raise pay for our state’s care workers to build the workforce seniors need, and that is why we are here today. We’re here to demand a $20/hour minimum wage for our agency home care workers because people caring for our elders and grandparents should not be struggling like this,” said Donna Peek, Community Care Program home care worker from McLeansboro, Illinois.

Wednesday’s press conference was part of an escalating series of actions across the state to demand a $20 minimum wage for CCP home care workers. On April 24, care workers gathered with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services in Chicago to underscore the importance of state action to address the care crisis, and on April 25, home care workers gathered for a roundtable discussion about the future of care jobs in Illinois. Workers will continue to escalate their campaign this month to impress urgency upon Springfield lawmakers.

**For additional background or to arrange an interview with an SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley, please reach out to Brendan Power ( **