California Healthline Daily Edition

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Calif. To Pay Overtime Wages to Home Care Workers Starting in Feb.

Last week, the state Department of Social Services announced that California will begin providing overtime pay to home care workers on Feb. 1, 2016, the Sacramento Bee reports (Miller, Sacramento Bee, 11/6).

Background

There are more than 400,000 home care workers in California, and more than 500,000 state residents receive in-home care services, according to DSS (DSS announcement, 11/4).

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled that home health workers were entitled to the right to receive overtime pay and minimum wage rates.

Under the decision, California officials said they would implement a law that passed last year granting overtime pay to In-Home Supportive Services workers. The California law has been on hold pending court review (California Healthline, 8/24).

The state has allocated $270 million in the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget to pay for IHSS overtime wages (Sacramento Bee, 11/6).

Details of Announcement

According to the DSS announcement, the state will begin providing overtime wages for:

  • IHSS care;
  • Some assistive services for individuals with developmental disabilities; and
  • Waiver personal care services.

The state, in consultation with advocates and provider unions, said it also is working to:

  • Add an IHSS service category that will include accompaniment to doctor appointments and travel for visiting multiple patients in a single day;
  • Finalize automated case management and payroll system changes;
  • Implement workweek agreements among providers who care for multiple consumers;
  • Prepare county staff to help form timesheet agreements and resolve errors;
  • Train home care workers on how to fill out and approve timesheets properly; and
  • Update timesheets used for home care (DSS announcement, 11/4).

Reaction

Following the announcement, union leaders balked at the four-month delay in implementing overtime wages for home care workers.

In a statement, Laphonza Butler, president of the Service Employees International Union-California and SEIU Local 2015, said, "We welcome the opportunity to continue working with [DSS] and the consumer representatives to ensure the successful implementation of the overtime regulation, but believe that caregivers deserve overtime payment for work being performed now" (Sacramento Bee, 11/6).

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