Caregiver Overtime Pay Threatens California Senior Home Care

Home care unions in California are lobbying for a new federal rule, one that has the potential of hurting the population they serve, reports a Los Angeles Times article.

The rule would require overtime pay for in-home caregivers, who unions argue should not be paid less than other workers just because they are employed in people’s houses. 

These costs, however, carry the possibility of disrupting a government program used by 450,000 elderly and disabled Californians.

Overtime pay would cost the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program $150 million more in state funds every year, according to state officials—all of this while Governor Jerry Brown is already trying to curb spending.

Brown’s Administration is already preparing legislation that would limit overtime payouts, notes LA Times, possibly by restricting the number of hours the state’s nearly 360,000 caregivers can work. 

Union members would win even if their request for overtime pay is denied, writes the article, as limiting the number of hours a caregiver can work could increase union ranks by thousands as more workers would be required to care for individuals needing more than eight hours of service each day. 

“The policy could also upend the lives of severely disabled Californians, who’s aides are often family members who form close bonds with them after many years of working together,” writes LA Times.

As a result, beneficiaries to the state’s in-home care program might have to find additional caregivers if a limit is placed on hourly service. 

“[Granting overtime] looks good on paper, but in the real world, that’s not the way it’s going to work,” said Arnold Arbiso, a quadriplegic living near Los Angeles.

In the end, “it will be a disaster,” he added.

The overtime change was proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor and is currently under review by the White House. It is unclear when the change will take effect if implemented, according to the LA Times.

Read the Los Angeles Times article.

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva