Published: July 1, 2020

Key Points: 

  • Homecare workers won a landmark retirement plan in our last contract.
  • The state will not meet its obligation to implement the plan on time, but our Union made sure workers will still get the money they’re owed in the form of a raise.
  • The retirement plan is expected to come online later this year. 

In 2019, thousands of homecare and personal support workers took our bargaining surveys and said that retirement security was a top concern. In response, the care providers on our Union’s bargaining team fought for and won a proposal to create a new retirement plan for care providers – the first of its kind in Oregon. This landmark achievement will help thousands of SEIU 503 members achieve greater financial security. 

But in recent weeks, DHS has broken their agreement to implement the new plan in July – pushing the start date back to September if you’re paid through PPL (this is the case for most personal support workers) or January if you’re paid through APD (this is the case for most homecare workers). 

This delay is unacceptable. Our bargaining team made sure you will still get the money you are owed in the form of a regular raise, but the delay shows that the State does not value us or respect the work we do – even while we’re on the frontlines of a global pandemic. 

Keep an eye on your paychecks this month for an extra $0.77 per hour (equal to 5% of the base pay rate). This is the money that you’re owed, which would have been available to automatically divert to a retirement program if the State hadn’t delayed. 

In other news, our Union has secured a new benefit for homecare and personal support workers.  If you have lost work hours due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for up to 80 hours of new Paid-Time Off benefits through Carewell SEIU 503. Click here to learn more.

When Does The Retirement Program Actually Begin?

The OregonSaves Homecare Retirement Savings program will launch in September if you’re paid through PPL (this is the case for most personal support workers) or as late as January if you’re paid through APD (this is the case for most homecare workers).  It was originally slated to launch in July, but OregonSaves was delayed in implementing the retirement program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our Union fought to ensure that even though the program will not launch on time, workers will still receive the additional compensation they are owed. 

How does it work? 

Starting in July, workers receive an extra $0.77 per hour (equal to 5% of the base pay rate), and when the retirement plan starts that money will get diverted into a retirement account operated by OregonSaves. Members will be able to choose how they want to participate in the retirement program. 

Retirement contributions add up over time. Someone working 40 hours per week, enrolled at 5%, will save approximately $9,000 in five years through this program. $21,000 in 10 years. Or $55,000 in 20 years. 

Note: The above numbers assume base pay and 5% contribution rate (which is the default rate). This also assumes a 5% return on the investments made by OregonSaves.

What If I Don’t Want To Participate?

This is YOUR retirement savings program, so it’s completely optional. While intial enrollment is automatic, you can choose how much or how little to participate, and you can change your contribution level at any time. The default option is to have 5% per hour go toward retirement.

Details for how to adjust your retirement contributions will be available soon. 

What is OregonSaves?

OregonSaves is a state-run retirement program that provides Oregonians a unique opportunity to save for the future. Homecare workers were instrumental in the creation of OregonSaves during the 2015 legislative session. 

Why a retirement plan? 

Retirement savings could help reduce turnover by making this job more financially viable long-term. That in turn will help improve the quality of care that Oregon’s seniors and people with disabilities receive. 

Questions? 

For questions about the OregonSaves retirement program, contact the SEIU 503 Member Assistance Center (MAC) at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348).