MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tens of thousands of home care workers in the state are getting a raise on Wednesday.

The Minnesota Legislature this year gave the raise to workers who joined the Service Employees International Union and negotiated a contract with the state.

Many home care workers will also be getting paid time off.

Among them is Dawn Lindberg, who cares for her mother, Elsa, in Minneapolis.

“I made the decision that I’m not going to leave her alone,” said Dawn, who lives with her mother five days a week. “I’m not going to abandon her.”

In-home care is one of the fastest growing jobs in the nation, but most workers don’t get health or retirement benefits, or even sick time.

Minnesota is one state trying to change that.

Lindberg is one of 27,000 members of the newly formed SEIU home care attendants union, who’s getting a pay hike July 1 after the union negotiated a contract with the state.

House wages will rise from $9 an hour to $10.75 on July 1, 2015, and to $11 an hour in 2016 — an annual salary of $22,360 per year.

And for the first time, home care workers get paid time off for five days a year.

For Dawn, the small pay hike is a lifesaver.

“I’m not going to lose my house,” she said.

Over time, Elsa’s family is prepared for her illness to get worse, but Elsa is unconcerned.

“Either I will make it or I won’t,” she said. “But I’m a fighter.”

Pat Kessler

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