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

Tennessee Middle
2021 Direct Support Workforce State Overview

Organization Characteristics

93% of services are provided in the middle region, 4% in the East region, and 3% in the West region. Services are provided in 1473 service sites, including 56% family or individual homes, 24% agency or facility sites, 10% job sites, and 10% other sites. 2776 people received services, and 3025 Caregivers/Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), 193 Frontline Supervisors (FLSs), 142 managers, 273 administrative, and 464 other employees than those previously listed were employed. Service types include 70% ECF CHOICES, 14% Vocational Rehabilitation, 57% DIDD Waiver, and 70% CHOICES (non ECF CHOICES).

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Employment

Of the 44 organizations who responded to employment types of caregivers/DSPs, 3% were on call or temporary employees, 33% were part-time, and 64% were full-time. 62% of caregivers/DSPs worked across more than one service type.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for caregivers/DSPs in 38 organizations was 21%. 31% of part-time positions and 17% of full-time positions were vacant.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Turnover

Overall, there was 50% annual caregiver/DSP turnover in 38 organizations. Of those who left their positions in 2021, 57% of caregivers/DSPs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 35% within 6-12 months of hire. The top reasons caregivers/DSPs left their positions were as follows: 62% pay too low, needed better pay, 51% found another job at another company, and 49% no call/no show.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Wages

41 organizations reported wage data. The hourly starting caregiver/DSP wage was $12.49, the average caregiver/DSP wage was $13.08, and the highest caregiver/DSP wage was $15.40. 20% of organizations paid caregivers/DSPs different wages across service types.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Benefits

On average, 38% of caregivers/DSPs were enrolled in health care plans. 43% of organizations offered paid time off, 8% offered sick leave, 16% offered paid vacation, and 52% offered health insurance to some or all caregivers/DSPs.

Caregiver/Direct Support Professional Overtime

A total of 481,226 hours of overtime were paid out to caregivers/DSPs in 2021, costing organizations the 36 organizations who reported overtime a total of a total of $2,746,223.

Frontline Supervisor Wages

Of the 36 organizations reporting, the average starting frontline supervisor (FLS) annual salary was $35,489. The average FLS annual salary was $37,544. The highest FLS annual salary was $43,702.

Frontline Supervisor Turnover

Overall, there was a 33% FLS turnover rate in 31 organizations reporting. Of those FLSs who left their positions in 2021, 22% of FLSs left within 0-6 months of hire, and 58% left within 6-12 months of hire.

Frontline Supervisor Vacancy

The overall vacancy rate for FLSs in 31 organizations who reported was 9%.

COVID-19 Experiences

In Middle Tennessee, of the 40 organizations who reported, COVID-19 experiences during 2021 included 5% closed due to government mandate. 8% of organizations furloughed or laid off staff, 10% of organizations eliminated staff positions, and 18% of organizations cut staff hours. 18% relocated staff to another setting and 15% of organizations had staff living in residences to slow COVID-19 spread. 13% of organizations listed another experience during the pandemic.

Of the 41 organizations reporting, 88% of organizations were short-staffed due to the pandemic in 2021 and 68% hired new staff due to the pandemic. Of those new staff, 30% of organizations gave staff regular training, 70% reported additional COVID-19 training, and 0% reported that staff received no training at all.

In 42 organizations, 57% reported that they gave a monetary bonus to all DSPs during 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those that gave DSPs a monetary bonus, 32% gave a $0.01-$1.00 per hour bonus, 14% gave a $1.01-$2.00 per hour bonus, 18% gave a $2.01-$3.00 per hour bonus, 9% gave a $3.01+ per hour bonus, and 27% gave a lump sum bonus. 55% of organizations report that there is an end date for the wage increase.