Statement by UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in response to the 2016-17 California state budget:
Today we celebrate another hard-won victory for California home care providers and recipients. The state budget, signed into law by Governor Brown yesterday, is a testament to the work of the UDW caregivers who have advocated for years to protect the home care program in California. These providers have worked tirelessly to demand dignity for their profession, and respect for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on their care.
The budget fully funds the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program for the next three years, which means IHSS clients will receive all of the necessary hours of care that have been assessed by social workers. Last year, these hours were restored for a one-year period after being cut for the previous four years.
While UDW is thankful to our elected leaders for taking action in this budget, our work is not done.
We will remain diligent in our work to restore IHSS hours permanently, because Californians who rely on care need more than a temporary fix. In-home care allows some of our most vulnerable neighbors and loved ones to remain healthy and safe in their homes. A permanent end to IHSS cuts is necessary to ensure people who need home care services no longer live in fear that their care will be cut or taken away from them.
United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a homecare union made up of nearly 94,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home.
Last night, UDW child care providers across the state and at our offices in Orange and Sacramento counties attended our monthly meeting to get the latest updates on child care.
The biggest issue on everyone’s mind was the state budget, and how it will affect family child care providers and our daycares. Together, we’ve worked for months to urge our elected leaders to make a significant investment in child care and early education.
Last night, we learned that our efforts were successful! The state legislature passed a budget this week that will invest an estimated $528 million into child care and early education programs. Of the $528 million, a majority of the funds will be used to increase subsidy reimbursement rates over the next two years. Rate increases will help providers afford the extra expense we will have when we have to pay our providers the new, higher state minimum wage.
The budget is now on Governor Brown’s desk, and he has until June 30th to sign it into law. That means we still have work to do.
We need to double our efforts to make sure the governor knows how important investing in child care is to providers and working families.
Call Governor Brown today at 1-916-445-2481. Make sure to tell him that you’re a child care provider, and that we must make an investment in care for children. Tell him to sign the budget to put much needed funds into California’s child care and early education system.
And be sure to ask other providers, your family, and your friends to make the call, too!
Click here to read more about the rate increases included in the state budget.
After decades of exclusion from Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections, home care providers won overtime pay for the first time in history last year. And on February 1st, FLSA benefits began for eligible IHSS providers. Now, many of us are eligible to receive overtime, travel time, and medical wait time pay – great benefits for caregivers and our families. UDW caregivers fought hard to secure these new benefits, and now we’re working to make sure they are implemented fairly.
Throughout the year, UDW members have lobbied and testified to lawmakers at the Capitol about the new program rules, and urged them to ensure they are helpful rather than harmful to providers and our clients. “We fought long and hard for overtime,” UDW member Nelson Retuya from Placer County told lawmakers. “Let’s make sure it works for home care workers and recipients.”
Our goal this year is to urge lawmakers to employ several changes to the new IHSS program rules. The changes will ensure that caregivers are treated fairly, and our home care clients receive care without harmful interruptions.
We’ve asked the legislature to adopt four actions in the Governor’s 2016-17 budget for IHSS:
IHSS program violations are consequences for submitting your IHSS timesheet with hours that exceed overtime or travel time limits. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) originally announced violations would begin on May 1st. Providers who receive multiple violations risk being terminated from working for the IHSS program. UDW has asked lawmakers to extend the start date to September 1st to give the state time to thoroughly implement all necessary policy changes, and to give providers and clients time to fully understand the new rules, so we can avoid receiving violations.
CDSS should notify eligible IHSS providers about exemptions for which we qualify, and create an appeals process for providers who believe they were incorrectly denied an exemption. Exemptions are important because they ensure that high-need clients or clients with special circumstances can continue to receive all the hours of care they rely on from their home care providers. Read more about exemptions here: http://www.udwa.org/2016/04/exemptions-to-timesheet-weekly-work-limits.
Right now, counties have a five-day review process before they issue an IHSS provider a violation. Counties should have no less than 10 days to review potential violations in order to cut down on the number of providers who receive invalid violations. Remember, violations include penalties that increase in severity all the way up to a one-year termination from the program. This means it is imperative that providers do not receive violations for no reason.
Right now, workweek limits are determined by the number of IHSS clients a provider has, which means providers have different caps on our workweek hours. In order to reduce confusion, UDW caregivers have asked for a 70 hour and 45 minute workweek limit for all providers (with the exception of providers who have received an exemption allowing them to work up to 90 hours per week).
UDW will keep members updated on our work to improve the implementation of our new benefits as the state budget process continues.
Remember, we can familiarize ourselves with the current overtime, travel time, and medical wait time rules by visiting www.udwa.org/timesheets.
By Doug Moore, UDW Executive Director
Gloria Carter has run a home-based daycare in Sacramento County for over 20 years. She provides child care and educational opportunities for the 12 kids in her care with the help of one daycare assistant. And she’s seen first-hand the child care crisis both California and the nation are experiencing.
“It’s terrible,” said Gloria. “Many of the parents of the kids in my care struggle to pay for child care while trying to make ends meet, and when I lose kids in my daycare, my family struggles too.”
Far too many working families can’t afford care, and family child care providers are dealing with wages so low that they can’t afford to keep their home-based daycares open. These problems add up to decreased access to quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities for our children. But there is a solution: Make an investment in family child care providers to increase families’ access to child care.
And with numbers like these, it’s clear we need to invest in child care now more than ever.
In 2014, the cost of child care for a preschooler in California was approximately $9,100 in a child care center, and $7,850 in a home-based daycare. And this year, an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found that it may be cheaper for a California family to send their child to college than to pay for child care for an infant. In fact, California is home to the 11th highest child care costs in the country. Families are struggling to provide for other basic needs like rent and food, because the cost of child care is, on average, a third of their income.
Families, especially low-income parents, rely on family child care providers to care for and teach their children while they work. And when parents can’t work because they can’t afford care for their children, they struggle to provide for their families.
“A mom of one of my kids couldn’t afford child care any longer, so she took her daughter out of my daycare,” Gloria recalled. “She reduced her hours at work, which meant reducing her income, so that she only worked when her daughter was in school.”
In California, low-income families can apply for child care subsidies to help them afford care for their children. However, many families in need don’t have access to the care because there aren’t enough slots, and others are just barely over the income threshold to qualify. All too often, families are forced to make tough decisions between paying for care and going to work.
This year, UDW is supporting a major investment in California’s child care system via the state budget. A quality investment in child care, including family child care providers, will help ease the financial worries of parents throughout the state. And right now, the best way to do this is to stabilize the child care system.
UDW supports an increase in subsidy rates, which will give family child care providers like Gloria a much needed and deserved increase in their pay – making it easier for them to afford their work-related expenses and keep their daycares open for business.
Investing in family child care providers and increasing access to care is a wise investment to make here in California, and throughout the country.
Doug Moore is the Executive Director of UDW/AFSCME Local 3930, as well as an International Vice President of UDW’s parent union AFSCME.
By the Editorial Board, The Sacramento Bee, May 23, 2016
No state was sorrier than California during the recession, when cash-strapped state lawmakers had to slash more than $1 billion in child care services. We’re a compassionate state, and it hurt, seeing families suffer. So you’d think that now that the economy has rebounded, that billion would be restored.
Though state lawmakers still talk a great game when it comes to caring about families, child care funding lags prerecession levels by more than $800 million. And though the legislative women’s caucus has asked for that money to be put back, the response so far has been pathetic.
This month, Gov. Jerry Brown suggested that the subsidized child care system be rethought and reconstituted with vouchers and block grants. Then last week, a Senate budget subcommittee offered a grudging bump of just $99 million.
We get the need to be fiscally prudent, but really? Maybe these people haven’t spent time around children lately. Otherwise they’d know that, just as one diaper won’t do when a baby uses eight daily, $80 worth of babysitting isn’t gettable for ten bucks.
Brown has a point about the complexity and expense of the existing system. And he is right to want to keep spending from running amok.
But as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has pointed out, children aren’t just any line item. They’re the single most important priority for millions of households. The days when one parent can afford not to work outside the home are over, and quality child care can mean the difference between a kid who flourishes in school or flunks out as an adolescent, between an employee who is fully present in the workplace and one wracked for eight hours a day with worry.
That worry is bipartisan. Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen and Assemblywomen Marie Waldron, Kristin Olsen, Catharine Baker, and Ling-Ling Chang have joined 19 Democratic female legislators (and at least two men – Assemblymen Mike Gatto and Marc Levine) in asking Brown to restore that $800 million.
State lawmakers should take another look at this funding. Nothing – no pothole, no pay raise, no prison – is more important than the first years of a child’s lifee.
In California, nearly 1.5 million older adults and people with disabilities struggle day after day, month after month to get by. Too many of our IHSS clients live without enough money to pay for basic necessities like housing, food, and their prescriptions. They are forced to live in poverty because of cuts made in 2009 to their Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (also known as SSI/SSP) grants in order to lessen the effects of the recession. Now, the state is doing better, but without an increase to their SSI/SSP payment amounts, the most vulnerable people in our communities are actually doing worse.
Together with community partners, UDW caregivers are asking our state legislators and the governor to do the right thing:
UDW caregivers like Susana Saldana from Merced have been active in urging lawmakers to do what’s right. In April, she testified at the Capitol before a Senate Budget Subcommittee, and urged them to: “Increase SSI/SSP grants to help lift California’s seniors & people with disabilities out of poverty!”
But now, with the state’s budget process winding down this month, we urgently need the help of all UDW caregivers. Click here to sign the petition. Tell lawmakers to take action and improve SSI/SSP for our clients and loved ones.
By Mike Luery, KCRA, May 12, 2016
A recent slump in the stock market is causing a major cash crunch for California.
“We projected that we were going to take in about $14.9 billion from personal income taxes in the month of April — the most important revenue month for the state,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesperson for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance. “We took in about a billion dollars less than that.”
The billion dollar hit comes primarily from capital gains — the taxes that people pay after selling a stock at a profit.
“Capital gains is one of the most important sources of revenue for personal income tax,” Palmer explained. “(Capital gains taxes are) two-thirds of the state budget. So when the markets sneeze, the budget can catch a cold.”
That “cold” could affect kids, especially those needing child care while their parents work.
Nancy Gray is a child care provider in Citrus Heights. She takes care of 14 children with an assistant.
She said that many of her clients are working families that are struggling to make ends meet.
“One of them for a while there was paying me her entire paycheck just to get child care started for her child,” Gray said.
Child care is a high priority for the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
“We have put in (the request) to the governor. We’ve asked for $800 million dollars,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.
She added that the extra money would “provide an increase in rates,” for child care providers.
But child care is not the only demand at the Capitol. There’s also pressure to spend more money to improve California’s crumbling roads.
There are also demands for more dollars for Denti-Cal, where Republicans are asking for an additional $200 million in extra funding for the program that assists low-income Californians.
But Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, a former certified public accountant, said that higher taxes are not the answer.
He added, ” We cannot be the band on the deck of the Titanic. We’ve got to start addressing tomorrow today.”
And the message from Gov. Brown on Friday is likely to be about belt tightening.
“The worst thing we could do now is commit the state to higher ongoing levels of spending, only to have to cut back when, not if, but when we get to the next economic downturn,” Palmer said.
The latest figures from the Franchise Tax Board show that California’s top earners, the 1 percent, pay 48 percent, or nearly half of all the personal income taxes in California .
So when they have a bad day on Wall Street — the Golden State suffers.
Brown is scheduled to provide details of his revised May budget plan on Friday at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol.