Muskie School of Public Service

Quits and Job Changes among Home Care Workers in Maine: The Role of Wages, Hours and Benefits


Figuring out how to make home care jobs more attractive has become a top policy priority. This study investigates the impact of wages, hours, and benefits on the retention of home care workers. Results: Although the analysis finds that improved work conditions and non-pecuniary rewards of home-based direct care work have significant negative effects on turnover intentions, compensation accounts for more actual job turnover. Higher wages, more hours, and travel cost reimbursement are found to be significantly associated with reduced turnover. Implication: Although wages and hours appear to have stronger effects, health benefits do appear to have some significance in predicting job-to-job transitions. Although improving compensation presents budgetary challenges to home care agencies, for this low-income workforce, the ability to earn higher wages and work more hours may be more of an imperative than improved work conditions. [Journal Abstract]

Suggested Citation: Morris, L. A. (2009). Quits and job changes among home care workers in Maine: The role of wages, hours and benefits. The Gerontologist, 49(5), 635-650. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnp071

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
October 1, 2009