Published: March 18, 2020

SEIU 503 members are essential workers who are keeping our state running during the pandemic. It’s times like these that we’re thankful we are together in union, because together we can make sure our voices are heard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do the Governor’s vaccine mandates apply to me? 

A: No. Homecare workers were exempted from the both the vaccine and testing policy covering healthcare workers and the vaccine mandate for state employees. However, individual consumer/clients can require their worker to get the vaccine. 

Q: Am I required to wear a mask while working? 

A: Yes. DHS does have a mask mandate in place for homecare and personal support workers. It does not apply to workers who live in the same home as their consumer.

Q: I can’t work. Will I lose benefits or pay?

A: When the pandemic hit, the Trusts changed their eligibility rules to protect people who were losing hours. That change expired on June 30, 2020 and normal eligibility rules are in effect. If you go two calendar months in a row with no bargaining unit work (or if zero hours are reported), after a grace period of one calendar month you will no longer be eligible for Carewell SEIU 503 benefits—including Healthcare Cost Assistance, Dental, Vision + Hearing, or Employee Assistance Program benefits.

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 may have some protections.

Q: Where can I get PPE?

A: DHS offices are making medical grade PPE available to homecare workers free of charge. You can call your local office or make a request online.

Q: I lost income. Are there any programs that can help?

A: Yes. First, you can apply for cash assistance through the Carewell CARES PTO program. Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and to apply. You may also file for unemployment. Claims can be filed at Oregon.gov/employ or by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484).

Q: How can I get tested? 

A: Homecare workers who are eligible for medical benefits can also get free COVID tests through Carewell. Click here for details

Q. Do I need a document proving that I’m an essential worker? 

A: No. Even during stay-at-home orders you can go about your business without documentation. However, many workers feel more comfortable with documentation. You can get an essential worker letter here

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.


Free Covid Training Class for Care Providers

This optional course is free to all homecare and personal support workers in Oregon. Care providers play an essential role in keeping our communities safe and healthy. That’s why Carewell SEIU 503 Training is offering a new training to help you navigate COVID-19 in your day-to-day work. Join this two-hour webinar to learn the basics of keeping you and those you support safe.


PTO for missed hours

Care SEIU Paid Time Off

Through the Carewell SEIU 503 CARES PTO benefit, eligible workers can get up to 80 hours of paid time off benefits. You may be eligible if you lost hours between June 1, 2020-December 31, 2020 for one of five eligible reasons relating to COVID-19, you worked at least 40 hours of eligible working hours (also known as bargaining unit hours), and you have a Form W-9 on file with the Benefits Administrative Office.


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

Click here to download our explainer on how homecare and personal support workers should file for unemployment.


Employee Assistance Program

If you are eligible for benefits through the Benefit Trust, you also have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP provides resources to help you in your personal life, from meeting health goals to getting your household finances in order. EAP services are free to you and include 24-hour crisis help, up to five face-to-face counseling sessions for every 12 months (per issue), online mental health consultations, access to discounted legal and financial services, and more.

You can access services by visiting ibhsolutions.com or calling 1-866-750-1327. Your access code is: OHWBT.

EAP Benefits Summary (PDF)
Beneficios del Programa de Asistencia al Empleado
Программа Помощи Работникам


Fact Sheets & Information