Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Print newspaper ad for live-in home health care raises possible ethical questions

I saw a large print ad in the Washington Post this morning from a company called “Home Care Assistance”, with main link here.What caught my eye was the use of the acronym “live in” in the phone number. 
The company says it does background checking (including immigration) and psychological testing of applicants.
I don’t know how costs are with this company, but I’ve covered before the issue that Live-in’s apparently do not fall under the legal rubric of eligibility for overtime compensation (after a notorious Supreme Case decision in 2007 about a case on Long Island, NY). See the posting March 2, 2011 on this blog. 

I did not use live-in’s for a long time in my situation, but we did use them briefly in northern Virginia in 1997 (after mother’s hip surgery) and 1999 (after her coronary bypass surgery at age 85) when it was expected she would get better quickly – which she did.  I was living in Minnesota (or about to move there) and working both of these times.

I find the question troubling – do “Live-in’s” have lives of their own?  The print ad says “Home care lets you be a daughter again”.  So it is for a son, too.   But I’ve wondered about the ethics of all this.  Could live-in employment be considered “exploitation”?

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