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REPORT: Illinois OT Cap for Home Care Workers Already Causing Harm

June 9, 2016

Illinois’ strict new policy limiting home care workers’ hours has already had a negative impact on care quality, a recently published white paper says.

A Missed Opportunity” (pdf) argues that the state’s “draconian new limits” on worker hours has “thrown the care system into disarray, threatens Olmstead protections for people with disabilities, and is being implemented through intimidation and threats from state agency offices.”

The cap on worker hours, which took effect on May 1, prevents home care workers in the state’s Home Services Program (HSP) from working more than 35 hours a week, plus an additional five hours of travel time. HSP provides supports and services for an estimated 28,000 people with disabilities in Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), who supported the cap, said it was a necessary cost-cutting measure in the face of both the state’s ongoing budget impasse and a federal rule change, which took effect in January, extending time-and-a-half overtime pay to home care workers.

Plenty of other states, however, have managed the rule change in a way that honors home care workers’ new wage rights as well as consumers’ right to affordable care, as documented in a fact sheet published in April 2016 by the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

“A Missed Opportunity” was published jointly by Access Living, Caring Across Generations, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, NELP, and the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living.

— by Matthew Ozga

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