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California Funds Overtime Wages for Home Care Workers

July 22, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) recently signed the state’s 2015-16 budget (pdf), which includes $270 million to pay overtime to home care workers employed through the state’s Medicaid-funded In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.

California was the first and only state to allocate funding to pay overtime to home care workers who work more than 40 hours a week. The state budgeted for overtime after the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a new home care rule to extend labor protections to home care workers beginning in January 2015.

When a U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia decision vacated the DOL home care rule last January, in a case filed against DOL by the home care industry and franchise association, California put the overtime funds on hold. Unspent funds were instead used on other increased costs in the IHSS program.

The release of the funds is contingent on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversing the lower court’s decision. Once again, the state will be able to allocate unspent funds for other purposes within the IHSS program.

There are 500,000 home care workers in California — more than any other state. Of these, 376,000 are employed through the state’s IHSS program. For more information about California’s direct-care workforce, visit the PHI State Data Center.

— by Stephen Campbell, PHI Policy Research Assistant

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