Homecare workers will receive a $0.35 per hour raise on January 1, 2020, bringing our base pay to $15 per hour! Our Union has long fought to bring the base pay rates up to $15 to stay above the minimum wage in Portland.
We reached a landmark agreement with the State to create a path toward retirement security. It’s a huge achievement that will help improve the economic stability of our members, as well as reducing turnover and improving the quality of care that consumers receive.
The agreement will begin in 2020. We have a commitment from the Governor and DHS to raise wages up to $0.77 per hour (5% of the new $15 base pay) to fund participation in OregonSaves. This is a groundbreaking retirement plan that’s portable, meaning you can take the plan with you even if you change jobs. The plan will be automatic, but workers will have the option to opt-out.
Addressing Pay Issues
Earlier this year, DHS admitted to issuing 10,000 late paychecks in 2018. Clearly, their system isn’t working. That’s why the bargaining team fought and won improved processes and consequences when late payments are not our fault.
- In instances where the State has issued a payment late, the State will compensate the worker a penalty fee equal to $20 per calendar day, not to exceed the gross amount of the late payment. This $20/day penalty fee will be in addition to any late/overdraft fees the worker incurred due to being paid late. This will help compensate homecare workers, while also creating an incentive to make sure we’re paid on time, every time! Workers will need to work with the Union’s Member Resource Center to initiate this late pay process.
- Workers will be able to get a copy of their date stamped voucher/timesheet if they turn it directly into staff at the local office- which will help workers prove that they turned in their timesheet on time.
- The State will require Case Management Offices to send out a secure email to all workers at the end of each pay cycle to make it easier for workers to securely submit their timesheet/voucher via email.
- Upon request, workers will now be able to get a letter from the State detailing any demonstrable costs (overdraft/late fees) the worker incurred due to being paid late.
For Homecare and PC-20 Workers:
For Homecare workers who are paid late because their voucher wasn’t issued on time:
- The State will be responsible for any demonstrable costs (like late fees or bank overdrafts) incurred by the Worker.
- The worker will be able to get an out of cycle payment issued within 24 hours of the issue being verified instead of having to wait until the next pay period.
- Case managers will now be able to provide hours authorization to a worker via a secure email when a Consumer needs a worker to provide services that cannot wait for a voucher/task list to arrive in the mail.
Expanded what counts as prior authorization of hours so that it’s easier for workers to know when they are good to start working. Any of these documents will now count as prior authorization:
- Handwritten 4105 form from the local office
- Completed 4105 form via mail
- Task List OR
Homecare workers will not be expected to provide services that are not on a Consumer’s task list. If a Consumer/Representative demands the HCW complete unauthorized tasks, workers will be able to report it to the Local office. The Local office will be required to keep a written record of this report and counsel the Consumer/Representative on the issue.
Homecare workers will now receive an updated task list within fourteen days of a Consumer’s completed asssessment.
Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) system for HCWs
We won a Letter Of Agreement protecting our right to bargain over the implementation of the EVV system for Homecare workers if the system is rolled-out during the course of this contract. We will be able to bargain over what data will be collected, how any collected data will be used, and criteria for exceptions to the use of the new system.
This is a first-in-the-nation policy, spelling out homecare and personal support workers’ rights when they feel unsafe is someone’s home. Many workers are in a vulnerable position working in other people’s homes, and we need to be able to call 911, report inappropriate behavior, and protect ourselves without fear of losing our income or losing our provider number.
The new policy spells out a process for reporting inappropriate behavior to the Case Management Office. It ensures that the worker will continue to get paid, but will not have to go back into the home in question. In fact, no workers will be asked to back into the home in question until the Case Management Office has done a follow up.
This historic policy will go a long way toward ensuring that no homecare worker has to risk their paycheck just to feel safe.
Development Of A New Referral Tool
We won an agreement with the State to develop a functional registry for homecare workers and clients to connect in the 21st century. This will meet the needs of both workers and consumers, by making it easier for workers to have consistent employment and making it easier for consumers to find care providers. The new system will be jointly developed by SEIU and State.
Improvements To The Grievance Procedure-The Process For Addressing Late or Incorrect Pay
- The State must investigate and address any late pay issues within 3 calendar days, vs the current 21 day period. It was a top priority to win expedited timelines for addressing pay issues.
- We have been pushing for the OHCC to add more staff to address the volume of calls and emails that come in. The State notified us that they are adding three more staff positions to improve the OHCC’s customer service. We won language in the Grievance Procedure article that this team’s priority will be investigating and addressing workers’ pay issues.
Workers can now receive a letter from DHS/OHA detailing any demonstrable costs incurred due to a late payment – this will be helpful to be able to show creditors.
Improvements to Training
CNA/LPN/RN Credit for PDC: Workers with a current Oregon CNA certification will be able to substitute the PDC Safety and Elective course with their initial PDC application- so they will only have to take three classes: Keeping it Professional, Working Together & Preventing Fraud and Abuse to get the .50/hr PDC increase.
Implementation of Senate Bill 1534: New skills-based trainings required through Senate Bill 1534 will now count toward professional development certification, making it easier for workers to increase their pay above the $15 per hour base amount. Workers will be paid their hourly wage for the time it takes to complete any required training
Workgroup on Improving the Professional Development Certification (PDC): Prior to February 1, 2020 we will convene a joint workgroup with the State that will focus on implementing improvements to the PDC qualifying process, researching what specific IT changes are needed to automate the PDC and make any differentials stackable, and identifying how the PDC can be a career development opportunity.
PSWs will be able to receive the hourly training stipend for completing Department approved Job Coaching classes.
Difficulty of Care (DOC) Exemptions: Starting January 1, 2020 the OHCC or PPL will provide qualifying HCWs/PSWs with written confirmation of their Difficulty of Care exemption status upon request. This will be very helpful for tax purposes. Additionally HCWs/PSWs will no longer be required to resubmit DOC exemption paperwork every year as long as they continue to work for the same Consumer.
New Workers Rights and Protections Article including:
Language regarding a worker’s right to a safe and healthy work environment and processes for how an unsafe situation will be handled. Workers will participate in a workgroup with the State in 2020 to determine:
- a consistent statewide process for HCWs/PSWs to report an unsafe work environment.
- Process for how complaints will be investigated and tracked.
- how to inform potential providers about past health and safety issues with a specific Consumer or a Consumer’s household.
- Process for how workers can request an ADA accommodation
- Improved provider number termination rights including timely notice of any issues that could lead to loss of provider number and that workers will be notified of their right to union representation as soon as an investigation has been initiated!
- New workers will learn about the benefits they are potentially eligible for during the New Hire Orientation.
- Expanded the time that workers get to learn about their union during the New Hire Orientation from twenty to thirty minutes.
- Improved access to a union bulletin board in each Local Office
- The union will have access to more accurate information including which PSWs are in the Independent Choices Program, and regular information on provider number terminations.
- Clarity on complaint process to report overpayment without giving up the right to file a grievance.
- If someone has been overpaid more than 30% than their correct pay rate, they will have to pay that money back over the course of 6 months.
- A workgroup made up of members and representatives of the state will convene and continue working on addressing overpayments in a timely, effective manner.
- The state agrees to provide technical assistance and resources to workers in the instance that overpayment was do to incorrectly submitted timesheets/vouchers.
- Maintained the $.485 per mile reimbursement rate
- Language clarifying that mileage reimbursement cannot be requested when you use the Consumer’s vehicle.
- Workers can receive written confirmation from the Local Office when they submit a copy of their driver’s license and/or vehicle insurance information directly to a local office staff person.
- Workers must provide proof of a valid driver’s license and updated vehicle insurance information to the Local Office. Failure to do so will result in mileage no longer being authorized until updated information is received.