January 29, 2018
Thanks to the advocacy of UDW and others working to convince elected leaders to help lift California families out of poverty, California’s minimum wage rose to $11 an hour on January 1. The minimum wage will continue to rise incrementally until it reaches $15 in 2022.
But fighting to raise the minimum wage is only one way UDW members are working to raise our pay. We are at the bargaining table in many counties this year, working to win better wages and benefits for IHSS providers.
We know how difficult it can be to convince our elected leaders that home care is important work worthy of a livable wage—that’s why we launched the Home Care Saves Lives campaign to bring attention to the essential work we do and the financial hardships we live with in order to do it. Our new website, www.homecaresaveslives.com, tells our stories and urges community members and caregivers alike to call our county boards of supervisors and demand that they #SupportCaregivers.
Denise Roe, a caregiver from Oroville, explained how one of her clients, an older community member, runs out of food every month. So she does what most of us caregivers would do, and uses her IHSS pay to help him buy groceries—even though she and her client aren’t related.
Home Care Saves Lives is also about reminding people how important our work is to our communities—and how important our dollars are to the local economies where we live and work. In some counties, even a small fifty cent raise would equal millions in local economic activity, so it’s a win-win situation for all. Visit www.homecaresaveslives.com or call your local office to get involved today.
“Caregivers like us need a raise because we help people in the community.” —Denise Roe, IHSS provider, Butte County
The same law that raised the minimum wage also gave IHSS providers paid sick days for the first time ever. Starting on July 1 of this year, we will receive one day (8 hours) of paid sick leave each year. On January 1, 2020, we will begin to accrue two paid sick days (16 hours) each year. This increases to 24 hours, or three days, of paid sick leave for each year on January 1, 2023.
In 2017, we stood up to repeated threats from Congress to repeal health coverage for millions of working Americans and cut IHSS by over $400 million.
But the new tax plan that President Trump signed into law in December means the programs we rely on like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and IHSS are still at risk—the Republicans’ tax plan was just step one of a two-step process, and step two will be to cut these vital programs in order to pay for the tax cuts.
This year we will continue to fight any attempts to take away the right to care for our clients and our families, and fight to protect health care for all who need it. 14 California lawmakers voted to cut IHSS and repeal our care in 2017, so we’re turning our sights to the 2018 elections—because attempts to cut our health care and important programs like IHSS will continue unless we change the conversations in Congress and elect new leaders who will stand with caregivers and our clients and loved ones.
Learn more about the lawmakers who voted to cut IHSS at www.cutshurtCA.com, and call your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved in the 2018 elections.
Federal law requires the state of California to adopt Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) for home care visits by 2019 or face funding cuts. EVV is a method to electronically monitor home care workers and ensure we are giving our clients all the hours of care that we say we are.
Naturally, many home care providers are concerned about EVV. Will we have to log in for every shift and care service? How will it work for family caregivers? What if a caregiver or their client doesn’t have internet access?
So far, those questions don’t have answers. California hasn’t decided what EVV will look like for us or how it will be implemented. UDW submitted a memo to the CA Department of Social Services opposing EVV last November. We will do everything in our power to challenge and limit this new requirement so IHSS providers can spend their time on what’s important: caregiving. Stay updated on the latest EVV news at www.udwa.org.
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