The State didn’t see fit to compensate workers for the additional risks we took on during the COVID-19 pandemic. That wasn’t right. So, during the 2021 bargaining process our team negotiated contract language that gives qualifying workers additional compensation in recognition of the increased hazardous working conditions that we experienced during the pandemic.
Because of the hard work of our member-elected bargaining team and other SEIU homecare and personal support workers who participated in actions over the past two years, our new contract includes a one-time hazard payment for active care providers who worked during the pandemic. Most checks were issued December 1. Since that time there has been some confusion amongst workers as to the dollar amount of the checks and how taxes will be handled.
When our bargaining team negotiated for hazard pay we worked hard to ensure that implementation would be smooth. Given the track record DHS has for implementing changes this was a priority of our team. We had numerous conversations with DHS leadership about implementation.
When we last talked with DHS about tax withholding, they confirmed that for PSW there would be no tax withheld, and for HCW and PCA tax would be withheld based on an individual provider’s W-4. Unfortunately, DHS made a change in how they were going to calculate withholding for HCWs and PCAs without communicating the change to our homecare bargaining team.
Please remember that PSWs have a different payroll provider than HCWs and PCAs. The PSW Program is managed through ODDS and payroll is provided by PPL. The HCW and PCA Programs are managed by APD/OHA and payroll is provided through APD. APD Payroll consulted with tax attorneys who recommended they treat the hazard pay for HCWs and PCAs as supplemental income. For supplemental income the following tax rates apply:
- 22% For Federal Taxes
- 7.65% For FICA (Social Security and Medicare)
- 8% For Oregon Taxes
If you combine all these, the appropriate net pay (after taxes) for HCWs and PCAs should be $1,410.35. Depending on what tax bracket you are in, you should see some of this money back when you do your taxes. If you are a HCW or PCA and you did not receive $1,410.35 net for your hazard pay check please contact the OHCC Customer Relations at 877-624-6080 or email OHCC.CustomerRelations@dhsoha.state.or.us.
Who qualifies for hazard pay? All homecare and personal support workers who worked during the first two waves of the pandemic, March 2020 to April 2021, and have an active provider number as of December 1, 2021 should qualify for hazard pay.
If OHCC is unable to immediately resolve your question or issue, please reach out to our Union’s Member Assistance Center at 844-503-SEIU (7348) or firstname.lastname@example.org