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Calif. Budget Allocates Funds for Home Care Worker Overtime Pay

June 13, 2014

The California legislature has rejected a plan endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to prohibit home care workers employed by the state-funded In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program from working overtime.

The state House and Senate agreed on June 12 to a budget pact that would allocate funding for overtime pay for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Brown signed the budget into law on June 15.

The budget allocates $180 million for home care worker overtime pay “in exchange for rules to prevent excessive overtime,” the Associated Press reported.

The budget has been the subject of intense disagreement between the legislature and the Brown administration.

Brown’s budget plan, submitted to the legislature in January, would have limited home care workers employed through IHSS to just 40 hours of pay per week.

Brown’s plan was a response to a federal rule change that will extend time-and-a-half overtime pay (and minimum-wage protections) to home care workers. The rule change is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015.

Opponents of Brown’s plan — including IHSS workers, some Democratic state lawmakers, and consumers and their family members — argued that Brown’s plan would degrade the quality of care for consumers who need more than 40 hours of care a week due to their disability or family situation.

In a letter to the Los Angeles Times published in January, PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon described Brown’s proposal as a “needlessly rigid response” to the new federal rule.

— by Matthew Ozga

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