IHSS providers have been plagued with late timesheets and paychecks for years.
In March, the State Auditor released a report on their audit of the IHSS payroll system, confirming what we already know to be true — the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) could be doing a lot more to help providers avoid paycheck delays.
Some of the audit’s recommendations for CDSS:
Next steps: our union UDW is sponsoring AB 237, a bill that would make these and other recommendations law.
The state is also putting its new electronic timesheet process into place. The pilot program launches in Riverside County this month, with a statewide rollout in Summer or Fall of 2017.
UDW recently discovered that numerous IHSS providers were still awaiting their June 15th – 30th paycheck. When we demanded answers from the state, we were told the longer than normal wait times were due in part to the 4th of July holiday. The holiday caused more timesheets than usual to arrive at the timesheet processing facility in Chico on July 5th, which slowed their processing and delayed paychecks across the state. As of July 15th, many providers are still waiting for their pay.
Workers in most professions – doctors, store clerks, even politicians – typically know when they will be paid for their work. But that is not the case for IHSS providers. The antiquated IHSS payroll system relies on paper timesheets, leaving the timeliness of our paychecks in the hands of the mail system, the timesheet processing facility, and the state. Even before this recent mass delay, all of us had heard of or experienced delays in our paychecks, and those delays hurt our ability to put food on the table, pay our rent, and stay current on our bills.
Late paychecks make it tough for providers to plan, and leave us feeling financially insecure. They also hurt IHSS recipients, like Crystal Mourad from Butte County who fears she will lose caregivers if they can’t count on a timely paycheck. “I depend on my caregivers,” said Crystal. “They’re not a luxury. They’re a necessity.”
IHSS providers deserve the security of knowing when we will be paid for our work, and home care recipients deserve stable, quality care. It is past time for the state to upgrade the payroll system, and move away from paper timesheets. Delays like these are the prime reason UDW caregivers fought for and won an audit of the IHSS payroll system.
The audit has begun, and will take months to complete. However, our efforts have pushed the state to announce the establishment of a pilot electronic timesheet program that will begin in April 2017, with the goal of expanding the program statewide in June 2017. This program could end timesheet and paycheck delays once and for all.
The pilot program is good news, but we will continue to urge the state to fix this issue sooner than next year. UDW will provide updates on this new initiative as we receive them.