State Senator Omar Aquino, standing alongside Service Employees International Union members, pushed for a wage increase for home care workers in Illinois at a rally Wednesday.

“When I worked for the Community Care Program, I witnessed firsthand the impact of home care workers on seniors’ ability to live an independent and dignified life,” expressed Aquino to advocates gathered in the Capitol rotunda. “You all provide dignified work—you should earn a dignified pay.”

Aquino joined hundreds of home care workers rallying together to speak on the need to increase wages for home care workers who provide essential personal assistance and health care support to thousands of seniors and people with disabilities across the state.

Illinois is home to more than 81,000 home care workers. By 2025, the population of people over 65 is projected to reach 2.5 million, stressing the need for adequate pay for home care workers to cover future demand.

This legislative session, Aquino is championing Senate Bill 3332, which would raise the minimum wage for Community Care Program home care workers to $20 per hour, a $3 increase from the current minimum wage.

“Wages must reflect our value in home care work, and they currently do not,” Aquino said. “If we want to keep seniors in their homes living a dignified life, we must take action now to give home care workers a meaningful raise.”

Aquino will advocate for funding for the rate increase through budget negotiations over the coming weeks.