Illinois has been facing a fiscal crisis for some time and it has also been the center of attention with regard to public unions, the fight for a major increase in minimum wage, and home care support for seniors and disabled adults. While the federal government’s Department of Labor put into effect a new rule change that effectively covers home care providers with regard to minimum wage and overtime regulations, each state still needs to be able to cover the increased cost that overtime can bring.
Illinois instituted a ban on overtime for home care aides and other in-home care providers, effective May 1st. This ban is generating a tremendous amount of reactions from both sides of the political argument.
Supporters of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) that represents many of these caregivers claims this new ban is a direct assault on the workers that give thousands of elderly and disabled adults the opportunity to remain within the comfort of their home as opposed to other options, which include a far more costly one in nursing home care.
Proponents of this ban point to the state’s serious budget deficit and debt and claim that without proper protections in place, the overtime policy could be abused.
In the ABC7 news article, Overtime Ban for Home Healthcare Workers Goes into Effect Sunday, written by Charles Thomas:
Last January, the federal government ordered states to pay people like Davis overtime. But in hard-pressed-for-cash Illinois, Gov. Rauner’s administration wants those overtime hours justified to avoid abuse.
“It’s a big problem. There’s a lot of abuse of overtime. I would say there’s a concern,” Rauner said.
Governor Rauner has been adamant about his desire to reach a consensus on how to curtail spending while generating more revenue for the state’s social programs. Representatives of these home care workers have instead been focused on rhetoric that can often be interpreted as inflammatory and damaging to the cause.
Later in the news article, Charles Thomas also added that the governor was being clear that the intention of these actions was not to drive down wages and the union’s rhetoric was detrimental to contract talks with these workers.
The governor’s administration is in the midst of a crisis that other states are also facing, one in which increased costs of these workers has not been focused enough on at the state level and therefore the burden of paying increased wages and overtime falls on agencies. Many smaller agencies operate on thin profit margins that can effectively be wiped out without any intervention, such as this ban on overtime, for these workers.
It’s important to note, though, that this overtime ban only covers public level workers who receive direct reimbursement from the state.
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