During June and July 2000, a survey was conducted to clarify the situation of care workers. The survey was sent to 2,354 employees at firms organized by the Nippon CareService Craft Union, an affiliate of Zensen (Japanese Federation of Textile, Garment, Chemical, Commercial, Food and Allied Industries Workers' Unions), and individual members of the union. The response rate was 61.1 percent.
The results of the survey revealed that a substantially large proportion of care workers are women, and that they got their jobs after qualifying through a helper training course. The average care worker is married (thus sharing a double income) and aged between 20 and 40, who had previously been interested in work related to care and welfare, and had wished to play a useful role in society, thinking also of acquiring higher qualifications to become a certified care worker or a care manager. Asked what their greatest concern was, 49.8 percent of home care workers indicated a concern about their own health; 47.5 percent pointed to a desire to improve their own skills so as to provide better service; and 33.7 percent mentioned a need for better methods to handle difficult cases. Among care workers involved with bathing invalids, 39.7 percent answered that the pay is too low compared to other jobs.
As for the primary duties of care workers, 21.5 percent mentioned bodily assistance, and 15.8 percent answered help with housework. As for the length of time they had been in care work, 43.5 percent reported that they had been involved for less than one year, though the time in care work was longer for those with higher qualifications. With regard to remuneration, 44.5 percent claimed they were on a fixed rate; 53 percent earned ¥150,000 to ¥200,000 per month, and 23 percent earned ¥200,000 to ¥250,000 per month.
Non-regular contract helpers do not have a fixed contract term and are vulnerable to the vagaries of the labor market. Some 23 percent of the care workers surveyed were part-time helpers, and 15.2 percent of the helpers were registered at care service-providing firms and worked on demand. It seems that quite a few care workers felt that they were unable to work as regular employees but wished to take advantage of their free time (e.g., when they were not engaged in their own housework or care of their own children) to undertake employment in the care industry.
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