What Does the New State Budget Say About In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)?

State Budget Q&A – Updated 6/20/14

 

What was the Governor originally proposing in his budget?

The Governor wanted to cap IHSS worker hours to 40 hours per week to avoid paying overtime – a right we won this year when the Obama Administration extended the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover in-home caregivers.  By capping caregiver hours to 40 hours a week, many caregivers would have experienced a significant loss in their hours and their income.  Capping hours would have also interrupted the continuity of care some of our most vulnerable consumers rely on to live safely at home.

The Governor also wanted to keep the 7% cuts to the program in place – across the board cuts made to IHSS hours during the recession.

 

What’s the status on the State Budget?

After months of our members lobbying our legislators and the Governor through personal visits to their offices, phone calls, and emails – and after thousands of ULTCW members attended rallies at the Capitol to ensure our voices were heard, on Sunday, June 15th, the State Assembly and Senate passed budget language that honors overtime to IHSS caregivers starting January 1, 2015, and provides pay for travel time and wait time.  Through our talks with legislators and the Governor, we’ve also created a pathway to continue to work on restoring the 7% cuts to IHSS hours.

 

What are the next steps for this to be final?

With the budget passed by the State Assembly and Senate, the Governor has until June 30th to sign the budget that provides overtime for workers.  During the next few weeks we’ll continue to work with our elected officials to pass legislation that will restore the 7% cuts.  This legislation is separate from the budget.

 

Who gets overtime?

IHSS workers who work over 40 hours a week will receive overtime for up to an additional 26 hours of work per week.

 

How much is overtime?

Overtime pay is time-and-a-half (x1.5 your hourly rate)

 

Is there flexibility with the hours worked in a week?

Yes, there is flexibility in the number of hours you can work in a week.  For example, if your consumer needs extra care one week due to their health, those hours may be worked based on the direction of your consumer.  You will still be held to the total monthly hours your consumer is given. Any hours that may result in working overtime or additional overtime hours will need approval from a social worker. Approval by a social worker may be given retroactively.

 

What if I have more than 283 hours because of the multiple consumers I care for? 

If you work over 283 hours and have more than one recipient, you will contacted by a county social worker within the first three months of the implementation to help manage your hours.

 

What is “travel time”?

If you care for more than one consumer and they live in different locations, you will now be paid for the time it takes you to travel directly from consumer 1 to consumer 2.  You may be paid for up to 1 hour daily – 7 hours max per week.  You can only account for the time it takes you to get from one consumer to the other.  Travel time does not include travel from your home to your client’s home – or from their home to yours.

 

What is “wait time”?

If you accompany your client to a doctor’s appointment and you are required to wait for them, you will now be paid for that time. Wait time hours will be assessed as part of your consumer’s next needs assessment and will be based on the average number of doctors visits your consumer has per month.

 

Why is the State giving 66 hours as a maximum to weekly hours?

The State looked closely at the number of hours caregivers work in California and found that the majority of workers work under 66 hours a month.  This calculation is also based on taking the maximum hours a consumer can receive (283 hours a month) and dividing it by 4.33 weeks (the average weeks per month).  There are situations in which your client may have hours totaling more than 283 due to a personal care waiver.  Those situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis with a social worker.

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