Update as of Wednesday, March 15, 2017
On Tuesday, March 14, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), voted on Bruce Rauner’s terrible overtime policy. It was a split vote along party lines – 6 democrats opposed the overtime policy and 6 republicans supported it. We needed two republicans to side with us to stop the policy, and despite intense public outcry, republicans refused to cross Governor Rauner and delivered their votes for him instead.
We packed the room with people with disabilities, personal assistants, and advocates so that republican lawmakers saw the faces of those who would be hurt by their vote. Immediately following the vote, we held a press conference where we denounced the policy and then marched to Governor Rauner’s office to express our opposition to the Governor’s terrible overtime cap policy. Read our joint statement that we released with Access Living here about the vote.
While we are disappointed with JCAR’s vote yesterday, our fight for a fair overtime policy is not over.
We have worked tirelessly for the last 16 months with disability advocates to stop Bruce Rauner’s terrible overtime rules and thanks to our efforts we do see a somewhat improved policy today, with higher caps and wider exceptions. However, there are still over 3,000 people with disabilities who are at risk under the overtime rules, and we will continue to fight for the rights of those consumers and their PAs.
We are awaiting a decision from the Illinois Labor Relations Board on our Unfair Labor Practice charge against the State for illegally implementing this overtime policy without bargaining with our union. We are also exploring other legal challenges to stop this harmful policy.
Finally, we are introducing legislation in the General Assembly that would bar the State from implementing an hours cap less than 55 hours per week, and would provide an even wider set of exceptions that consumers can apply for (House Bill 3376). If that bill is passed out of the General Assembly with veto-proof majorities, that may also be a viable option to stop this overtime policy.
However, DHS said they intend to implement the overtime rules which cap hours at 45 hours per week for personal assistants starting August 1, 2017. This means that for now, personal assistants may continue to work all the hours in your consumer’s service plan and get paid overtime pay of $19.50/ hour for all hours worked above 40 hours/week.
The policy does contain exceptions that consumers will be able to apply for in order for their PAs to work hours above the 45 hour per week cap. As soon as we receive information and instructions on how to apply for those exceptions, we will share it out widely with personal assistants.
As always, we will continue to share out updates as soon as possible with our members.
Stay tuned, and stay committed to this fight – it is NOT over.
Update as of Tuesday, August 9, 2016
We are pleased to also announce that we now have confirmation that all past disciplinary occurrences related to the overtime policy will be rescinded.
Again, all disciplinary occurrences that were given out to Personal Assistants due to the overtime policy are being rescinded effective immediately.
This is huge news because as we reported last week, over 2,000 PAs had received disciplinary occurrences since May 1, and this will mean those occurrences will be removed.
We will keep you posted on further updates as we receive them. We still have to fight to ensure the state doesn’t attempt to implement the same terrible policy through the rules-making process, but for now this is something to celebrate.
UPDATE as of 12:00 PM Wednesday August 3, 2016
We have BREAKING NEWS to share with you regarding the State’s disastrous overtime policy. 2,000 PAs faced termination as early as next week under the state’s unfair policy and our union was ready to file a lawsuit today demanding the State rescind the policy immediately.
Threatened by our lawsuit, the State announced late last night that they would rescind the overtime policy!
This is a huge victory, but it is a temporary victory.
The Rauner administration’s 11th-hour backtracking is an acknowledgement that they broke the law by capping hours for Personal Assistants. However, the State still plans to move forward with formally submitting the overtime rules, which allows for public comment and concerns from the disability community and from PAs. This means that we must continue fighting for a fair policy for people with disabilities and PAs.
For now, Personal Assistants who have overtime hours can work them without fear of disciplinary occurrences.
UPDATE as of Friday, April 29, 2016
Despite our union’s good-faith efforts to reach a fair agreement on overtime, the State pulled a bait-and-switch, insisting that any agreement on overtime must be contingent on us agreeing to a 4-year wage freeze for Personal Assistants.
This is not acceptable, and we are escalating our fight for $15 for Personal Assistants, and to protect our healthcare & training and get a fair overtime policy.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE OVERTIME HOURS
Consumers and PAs need to prepare for the State to start implementing their terrible overtime policy on May 1st and we strongly encourage those with consumers who may be eligible for an exception to this policy to apply for it with DHS immediately. Your consumer can apply by submitting an Overtime Qualification Form to their local DORS office.
If your consumer is not approved for an exception, the State is saying that you can no longer work more than 40 hours per week or else you may face discipline. If your consumer has been unable to find additional Personal Assistants to take their hours over 40, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it, so we can keep track of how the State’s policy is harming people with disabilities and workers.
If you are in the situation where you have worked 40 hours and there is no backup Personal Assistant to work the rest of the hours, the State is saying that you may be disciplined and even terminated if you work over 40 hours. The State is saying 3 strikes and you’re out under their policy, unless the overtime is approved. This is exactly why their policy is so unfair and we are fighting it so hard.
If you are a PA who is in this situation, and if you choose to work your overtime hours, here is what we advise:
1) Fill out an affidavit and have your consumer sign it certifying that your Consumer’s health and safety is at risk if they don’t receive all of their hours and turn it in with your time sheet. Click here to view and print the affidavit in English, and here to view and print the affidavit in Spanish.
2) Fill out an Overtime Justification Form and turn it in with your time sheet. That form is located here. Be sure to include on the form that your consumer is looking for additional PAs but has been unable to find any so far.
3) You should also call the head of the Home Services Program, Vivian Anderson, at this number: (855) 673-2005 and tell her your situation and that the State should stop this unfair overtime policy.
4) Lastly, our union will represent you and we will fight any unjust discipline from the State over this terrible policy. You can report any issues around discipline relating to the Overtime Policy to our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348.
UPDATE as of Thursday, April 7, 2016
The State has sent out letters to Personal Assistants and DORS consumers with notice of plans to implement their Overtime Policy starting May 1, 2016. The letter states that our union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, agreed to this implementation date – this is not true and our union has not agreed to May 1 implementation.
We are continuing to fight for and demand a fair Overtime Policy that protects Personal Assistants and people with disabilities.
Until the end of April, Personal Assistants can continue to work current hours and will be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in one week. However, it is important for all DORS Personal Assistants to be aware that the State continues to threaten to implement its overtime cap beginning May 1st. Therefore, if your DORS consumer is eligible for an exception to the State’s Overtime Policy, they should apply for that exception right away.
If your consumer will be put at risk of institutionalization or other harm due to this policy, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it.
You can take action to stop the Overtime Policy by dialing 888-864-8950. You will hear a recorded message and then have the option to be connected to Governor Rauner’s office to tell him to stop the DORS Overtime Policy because it will hurt people with disabilities and Personal Assistants.
UPDATE as of Monday, February 29, 2016
We are happy to report that the State has agreed to delay their planned March 1, 2016 implementation of the DORS Overtime Policy.
We do not know how long this delay will last. However, together with our disability rights allies, our union will continue to fight against the State’s misguided overtime policy because it is harmful to people with disabilities and Personal Assistants.
Because we have a union, the state is required to bargain with us over this issue. Thanks to our rights as union members, we have successfully delayed implementation of this bad policy.
Here is what this means for Personal Assistants:
- PAs can continue working all the hours their consumer authorizes them to work, even if that means working over 40 hours a week.
- PAs will be paid overtime for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in one week.
- PAs will be paid travel time when going from one consumer to the next in one day.
- No PA will be disciplined or lose their job because they work more than 40 hours in a week. NOTE: Your local DHS office may not have been notified of this update yet. If you have any problems with your local office, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it.
- We encourage all PAs to enter their time on their time sheets and the EVV system correctly and accurately.
Along with our allies in the disability rights movement, we are exploring legal challenges to the State’s policy and will share new updates as we receive them.
UPDATE as of December 29, 2015
We have an important update to share regarding overtime hours for DORS workers in the Home Services Program.
Many caregivers received letters from the Home Services Program that said you were not allowed to work more than 40 hours a week starting in 2016 – even if your consumer has over 40 hours.
We want to let you know that due to the hard work of our union, advocates for people with disabilities, and dozens of DORS workers who shared personal stories, the Home Services Program has agreed to wait to implement any changes until after our union and the State are done bargaining about the Overtime Rules during our current contract negotiations. This means that for now you can continue to work your normal hours even if they go over 40 hours per week and you will get paid time and a half for hours over 40.
NOTE: We are awaiting clarity as to whether or not overtime forms need to be filled out. As soon as we receive an update, we will share it widely.
This is an important victory for DORS workers and consumers! Because we have a union, we will have a voice in how the State moves forward with new federal overtime protections for home care workers.
UPDATE as of December 9, 2015
About two years ago the US Dept. of Labor (DOL) issued new rules covering home care workers in regards to overtime pay and travel pay. This was a huge move by the Obama administration because it stood to affect over 2 million home care workers nationwide. Previously, DORS Personal Assistants and MHH professionals were not eligible for overtime pay or for travel pay, but these new rules mean all DORS caregivers are covered just like agency home care workers starting January 1, 2016.
Recently, DORS mailed out plans for their implementation of this new policy, without negotiating the terms with our union as we requested multiple times. Their plans would place an undue hardship on home care consumers and workers and we oppose these plans as a result.
Our union is working with the disability rights community to push for continued, strong consumer-direction; meaning home care consumers should have control over who they hire and how many workers they want to hire. The State should not override consumer rights because they want to avoid paying overtime to workers.
Here is what our union has proposed to the State:
- All DORS Personal Assistants and MHH professionals working over 40 hours/week must be paid time and a half.
- Pay for travel between consumers should be at the regular hourly rate. For example, the Personal Assistant hourly rate is $13. If it takes a PA 30 minutes to get to their second consumer, that PA should earn half of the hourly rate for their time, $6.50.
- We have demanded bargaining about overtime and travel pay, and have demanded that no changes be implemented until bargaining takes place. Since the State has moved forward with implementation despite our request, we may have to file unfair labor practice charges, and we stand ready to do so.
- For now, we advise all DORS caregivers to continue working the same amount of hours they currently have.
We will update all Personal Assistants and MHH professionals with new information as we have it. In the meantime, feel free to call the Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 with any further questions or concerns you may have.