Employment and Community First CHOICES Workforce QuILTSS Initiative Survey 2021: Year Four Report

2021 Direct Support Workforce State Overview

Organization Characteristics

In the state of Tennessee, 34% of services are provided in the Middle region, 33% in the East region, and 33% in the West region. Services are provided in 5,069 service sites, including 60% family or individual homes, 23% agency or facility sites, 9% job sites, and 8% other sites. 10,971 people received services, and 11,685 Caregivers/Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), 642 Frontline Supervisors (FLSs), 512 managers, 1000 administrative, and 1402 other employees than those previously listed were employed. Service types include 54% ECF CHOICES, 15% Vocational Rehabilitation, 44% DIDD Waiver, and 79% CHOICES (non ECF CHOICES).

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Employment

Of the 124 organizations who responded to employment types of caregivers/DSPs, 3% were on call or temporary employees, 42% were part-time, and 55% were full-time. 60% of caregivers/DSPs worked across more than one service type.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for caregivers/DSPs in 108 organizations was 21%. 26% of part-time positions and 21% of full-time positions were vacant.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Turnover

Overall, there was 56% annual caregiver/DSP turnover in 106 organizations. Of those who left their positions in 2021, 57% of caregivers/DSPs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 28% within 6-12 months of hire. The top reasons caregivers/DSPs left their positions were as follows: 66% found another job at another company, 54% no call/no show, and 52% pay too low, needed better pay.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Wages

122 organizations reported wage data. The hourly starting caregiver/DSP wage was $12.05, the average caregiver/DSP wage was $12.60, and the highest caregiver/DSP wage was $14.47. 17% of organizations paid caregivers/DSPs different wages across service types.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Benefits

On average, 30% of caregivers/DSPs were enrolled in health care plans. 48% of organizations offered paid time off, 18% offered sick leave, 23% offered paid vacation, and 56% offered health insurance to some or all of the caregivers/DSPs they employ.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Overtime

A total of 2,881,536 hours of overtime were paid out to caregivers/DSPs in 2021, costing the 107 organizations who reported overtime a total of $18,471,076.

Frontline Supervisor Wages

Of the 103 organizations reporting, the average starting frontline supervisor (FLS) annual salary was $34,180. The average FLS annual salary was $36,611. The highest FLS annual salary was $43,629.

Frontline Supervisor Turnover

Overall, there was a 41% FLS turnover rate in 90 organizations reporting. Of those FLSs who left their positions in 2021, 28% of FLSs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 51% left within 6-12 months of hire.

Frontline Supervisor Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for FLSs in 86 organizations who reported was 15%.

COVID-19 Experiences

In Tennessee, of the 120 organizations who reported, COVID-19 experiences during 2021 included 13% closed due to government mandate. 8% of organizations furloughed or laid off staff, 13% of organizations eliminated staff positions, and 23% of organizations cut staff hours. 21% relocated staff to another setting and 13% of organizations had staff living in residences to slow COVID-19 spread. 20% of organizations listed another experience during the pandemic.

Of the 126 organizations reporting, 91% of organizations were short-staffed due to the pandemic in 2021 and 71% hired new staff due to the pandemic. Of those new staff, 16% of organizations gave staff regular training, 81% reported additional COVID-19 training, and 3% reported that staff received no training at all.

In 125 organizations, 58% reported that they gave a monetary bonus to DSPs during 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those organizations who gave a monetary bonus, 91% gave a bonus to all caregivers/DSPs, 6% only gave a bonus to FT caregivers/DSPs, and 3% only gave a bonus to PT caregivers/DSPs. Of those that gave DSPs a monetary bonus, 29% gave a $0.01-$1.00 per hour bonus, 21% gave a $1.01-$2.00 per hour bonus, 17% gave a $2.01-$3.00 per hour bonus, 9% gave a $3.01+ per hour bonus, and 24% gave a lump sum bonus. 43% of organizations report that there is an end date for the wage increase.