The Illinois legislature passed a bill this past fall that would have allowed home care workers to be paid overtime for their services through the state. However, as promised, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill.
The topic has drawn ire from the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and other advocates for in home care workers who claim this is putting elderly and disabled clients at risk, especially when they require more than 40 hours of care per week. On the other side of the argument, though, in light of the Department of Labor rule change that went into effect January 1, 2016 requiring in home care workers to receive minimum wage and overtime protections, without certain safeguards in place, quality of care and safety may be compromised.
The State Journal-Register reported in the news article, Rauner vetoes home-care overtime bill:
“Each physically disabled resident in the taxpayer-funded Home Service Program is provided a service plan that includes a certain number of hours for in-home care,” the governor said in his veto message. “This care is provided by individual providers and is based on the personal circumstances and level of need of each person in the program. The total number of hours in a resident’s service plan varies, with some high-need individuals requiring as much as 80, 90, or even more than 100 hours of care each week.
“… As stewards of the Home Services Program, the state must protect the safety of our residents, as well as the long-term sustainability of the program. The state has a responsibility to contain rising costs so that future participants will also have access to the services of this critical program.”
There are many issues at play with regard to this topic and while there are certainly those advocating for unregulated paid overtime for these caregivers, safety is an issue as is oversight.
It wasn’t noted in this article how many caregivers being paid by the state are family members or what provisions would need to be put in place to ensure these men and women would be paid only for the actual work they provide. The union has been vocal in its support for enlisting every person being paid by the state for in home care as members, but they lost in court when some providers did not wish to be forced into union membership.
It’s not clear if the legislature has enough votes to override the veto, but for in home care aides who legitimately provide quality and necessary care beyond 40 hours per week, this can certainly be a challenge, but different legislation may be put forth in the future to provide an avenue for those in need to get the care they require.