Published: March 18, 2020

SEIU 503 is working quickly to make sure that workers’ voices are not ignored as employers, government agencies and policy makers roll out COVID-19 plans. It’s times like these that we’re thankful we have a strong union that can respond and make sure our voices are heard.

Quick links

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I can’t work. Will I lose benefits or pay? A: You will not lose your benefits. the Trust has agreed not to cancel anyone’s benefits – dental, vision or healthcare – through June. If you’re not getting hours because you or your client has COVID-19, or if you have to stay at home to care for your child due to school or daycare closure, you have some protections. First, if you’re eligible for paid time off benefits, you can apply for an emergency hardship payment. Apply by calling the Member Assistance Center at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348). Second, you may also file for unemployment even if you’re just waiting for things to settle down so you can get your hours back. Claims can be filed at Oregon.gov/employ or by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484).

Q: Where can I find personal protective equipment (PPE)? A: There is currently a nationwide shortage of PPE. Our Union signed an agreement with DHS to ensure that as soon as they have PPE, it will be made available to you. Unfortunately, DHS is finding it just has hard as everyone else to procure supplies.

Q: Do homecare workers need documentation or proof that they are healthcare workers to travel to clients houses, shop for clients or do other errands during the shelter in place order? A: No. You may continue to do your jobs as normal without fear of violating the order. If you feel more comfortable having a document, you may access one in the Essential Worker Form section below.

Q: Will I lose my provider number for missing work? A: No. Our Union reached an agreement with DHS to prevent any worker from losing their provider number due to COVID-19 related work stoppages. If you are not able to work for any related reason, please notify your case manager.

Have a question you don’t see answered? Submit it here. 

Respite Care

Need respite care? Click here to view a list of SEIU members who are available to pick up hours. Need more work? Click here to submit your information to the respite care list.


PTO for missed hours

The Oregon Homecare Workers Benefit Trust will provide a Hardship Paid Time Off benefit for workers impacted by COVID-19 because of the huge impact that COVID-19 is having on our communities. Click here for more information or call 1-844-503-SEIU (7348).


Child Care

If you are continuing to work during this public health emergency and need child care, please call 211info to get connected with a provider as soon as possible. We’ve put together a guide for SEIU members who are trying to apply.


Unemployment Benefits

Governor Brown has issued an executive order loosening the rules around unemployment to help people who are quarantined or temporarily out of work due to COVID-19 – this includes people who need to stay at home to care for a child. Claims can be filed at Oregon.gov/employ or by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484). Click here to download our explainer on how homecare and personal support workers should file for unemployment.


Essential Worker Form

You do not need to show documents to continue going about your daily routine during the shelter in place order. However, if you feel more comfortable having an essential worker document, you may access one here.


Letter of Agreement with DHS

SEIU 503 has signed a letter of agreement – which is like a short-term contract – laying out rules for homecare and personal support workers during this crisis. Click here to read the full Letter of Agreement. Español. رساله الموافقه. 协议书.

Key Points:

  1. No homecare or PSW will lose their provider number for missing work due to COVID-19. If you test positive or have symptoms, the local DHS office or case management entity.
  2. DHS will prior-authorize short term overtime when there’s a need, such as a lack of workers to cover hours. Workers should contact their local DHS office for overtime authorization.
  3. DHS will notify workers if they have been exposed to the virus.
  4. Workers will be able to email vouchers. 
  5. DHS will waive the requirement to get a consumer signature on vouchers if the worker or consumer have been exposed or show symptoms of COVID-19.

Community Resource Guide

With information on state and county resources, food assistance, low cost healthcare, childcare and more, our resource guide is an attempt to pull together all the resources in the state that are available to people impacted by COVID-19.


Fact Sheets & Information

  • Oregon Health Authority has published a fact sheet specifically for homecare workers.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): There is a critical shortage of PPE in Oregon and around the county. Governor Kate Brown directed all Oregon hospitals, outpatient clinics, and health care providers, including veterinarians and dentists, to cease all non-emergency procedures, in order to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, for health care workers treating COVID-19 patients. We are doing everything we can to fight for access. Please contact your organizer if you don’t have access to PPE. Every story helps us advocate.
  • 211 is the go-to public phone number to get information about Novel Coronavirus and referrals to programs for food, shelter, health care and more. CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155; TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211); EMAIL help@211info.org.
  • Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 website for weekly public updates about how many people are being monitored in Oregon, as well as sharing updates about how Oregon families can help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
  • Governor Kate Brown is posting updated news and resources, including the latest information on school and business closures, on her official website.
  • Ten Steps for preventing Coronavirus: in English and Spanish
  • Regarding the Coronavirus and xenophobia — read this article in TIME magazine, and this one from the Los Angeles Times.