Your member-elected Homecare Council submitted a letter to DHS Director Fariboz Pakseresht on Friday demanding his direct involvement in fixing the ongoing payroll issues in the Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) Program. Director Pakseresht responded today to set up a meeting and has promised to make this a priority in the new year.
Note: The issues in this article impact homecare workers and personal care attendants in the APD program. Personal support workers in the ODDS program use expers, a separate payroll system.
“We are in a crisis,” Council members wrote in the letter. “In recent weeks we have been appalled to see a series of preventable errors that have significantly harmed thousands of essential homecare workers and their consumers.”
These errors include the failed rollout of the new PTC timekeeping system, an uptick in reports of late or partial payments, and poor communication about how hazard pay would be taxed.
The letter goes on to say that homecare workers and our union, SEIU 503, only stand to benefit from improving systems for workers and consumers. But our efforts to be patient and to be a partner with the APD leadership have not resulted in solutions. That’s why we are asking Director Pakseresht to step in and address this crisis in a meaningful way.
This action, along with the contract grievance filed by our union last week, represent a needed escalation in our fight to fix APD’s payroll crisis. As SEIU 503 Executive Director Melissa Unger said last week, “We must send a clear message to DHS that errors with payroll are not acceptable … We cannot allow DHS to continue making errors like this without consequences.”
Director Pakseresht’s quick response is a testament to the power homecare workers have built through our union. We look forward to working with him to address these important issues and find immediate solutions so workers can focus on caring for our state’s seniors and people with disabilities.
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