Workers & Customers Speak Out In Support of Protecting Customer Voice in Choosing Caregivers
Paula Templeton has cared for her son, David Conn, for the last 26 years in her Peoria, IL, home. Conn was hit by a car at the age of 22 in Nashville, TN, and has used home care services ever since to live a fulfilling, independent life in his mother’s home.
Paula cares for David, now 48 years old, 24 hours each day, 7 days a week – although she is only paid for 60 hours per week as his home care worker.
Paula and David have been living in uncertainty since the state of Illinois announced its plan to implement new federal overtime pay rules for home care workers. The state’s plan would effectively force David to hire an additional worker and force Paula to give up 25 hours of work each week, slashing the income she supports herself on.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” explained Paula Templeton, “Neither of us want to hire a new person to come into our home when I’m here and can continue to provide the care my son needs like we always have. This should be my son’s choice, not Governor Rauner’s.”
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor, starting January 1, 2016, home care workers were finally extended federal overtime protections. Instead of engaging with stakeholders on this issue, the Rauner administration is attempting to circumvent the rule and avoid paying overtime to workers by capping hours at 35 starting March 1, 2016. Under the policy, the state requires customers to hire additional workers to ensure no one works over 35 hours per week. Home care customers and workers are threatened with loss of services or jobs if they fail to comply with the new policy.
According to DHS, just over 10,000 home care customers and workers stand to be impacted by this policy change.