Caregivers Still Waiting for California Overtime

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Los Angeles, CA Charlene quit her job as a retail supervisor to look after her mother who requires care 24/7. “I don’t have any savings or other means of income so I was counting on a fair wage and California overtime when the IHSS kicked in this past January,” says Charlene.
“But five months later I am still struggling, along with most other caregivers, to make ends meet.”


The California In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) was put on hold mid-January by the Brown administration due to a judge striking down federal regulations that would have allowed the change nationwide, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. So about 400,000 workers are now in limbo: they will continue to be paid an hourly wage from 2014 and will have to wait for any overtime compensation.

“My mother has physical and mental disabilities and can’t be left alone,” Charlene explains,” but I am not about to put her into a long-term nursing facility where she will waste away.” If and when the Brown administration’s decision to deny California overtime is overturned, paying caregivers a fair wage and overtime would still save the government a huge amount of money.

If Charlene did place her mother in a skilled nursing facility, the annual cost is more than $65,000. According to a 2012-13 report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the annual cost for someone with an average number of IHSS hours is closer to $13,000.

“In addition to making $9 per hour and working about 14 hours a day without overtime pay, my checks are constantly delayed, even though I have direct deposit set up,” says Charlene. “The inconsistency of receiving my paychecks has caused me to pay interest on my monthly expense bills and extra bank charges. And stress. This whole system is so unfair and legal action is the only place where I can turn.”

According to responses (mostly women) from a PayScale salary survey, caregivers in the Los Angeles area receive an average pay of $9.96 per hour. Earnings can vary between $8.10 per hour and $16.48. Only one in eight respondents receives medical and dental coverage.

Dana (not her real name) typically works 13 or 14 hours a day, also without any overtime pay. She has been employed as a caregiver by 123Home Care for the past two years. “When the company hired me I agreed to $11 per hour with overtime after working more than 9 hours a day, or 45 hours per week,” says Dana. She is still waiting for overtime pay.

“The family I work for cut back on the nurse visits - from once a day to twice a week, but their mother is getting worse. I wound up working 70 hours one week up until a few months ago, when I reduced my schedule to 55 hours a week,” Dana explains. “I contacted my employer at 123Home Care regarding overtime pay. He told me that my regular pay rate is reduced because I work more than 12 hours a day and the balance is paid to me in overtime. I was never told that during orientation and I believe this company is violating California labor laws and the FLSA (Wages and Fair Labor Standards Act).

Charlene and Dana were hopeful this past March when President Obama said that his administration would soon announce the details of a reform to overtime rules nationwide. “What we’ve seen is, increasingly, companies skirting basic overtime laws, calling somebody a manager when they’re stocking groceries and getting paid $30,000 a year,” President Obama told the The Huffington Post in an interview. “Those folks are being cheated.”

More than 400,000 caregivers anticipate Brown’s ruling to be overturned on appeal. With $183.6 million in the current state budget and $314.2 million in Brown’s proposed 2015-16 state budget, clearly the money is there to pay Charlene and Dana and countless other workers the overtime pay they are entitled to. Given the cost of nursing homes and other care facilities, it would be a win-win situation for all…

For more information, here is the court ruling.

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3 Comments

  1. ALAYNA DEOLIVEIRA
    August 17, 2016
    Informative post . For my two cents , if someone requires a CA SOC 829 , my colleague filled a fillable document
  2. Cali
    May 18, 2015
    In Orange County IHSS workers have been locked in to a measly $9.30 per hour for the past six years or so. To top off this outrage of no overtime, Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown deducted 3.6% of wages ( hours of care for disabled individuals) for several years, then they upped that to minus 8% of wages (hours) and we are now supposed to be happy with them only deducting 7% from our current pay checks and client hours. Heck, they could pay overtime with just the money that they have extorted from our paychecks for the past 5 or 6 years in a row. Tell me please, how can a severely disabled person who requires 24/7 total and complete care and supervision go without care? What is happening is that families "volunteer" their services around the clock to fill the remaining hours. I am a parent IHSS provider but this is absolutely killing me. As a parent provider, I have been denied the right to have FICA deductions taken out of my pay check, which they DO allow for non parent providers. This is grossly discriminatory. I have been a parent IHSS provider for over 25 years. I am past full retirement age and do not have a single penny of FICA contributions. I have worked my tail end off for over 25 years and it is beginning to take its toll on my physical health. What IHSS is actually setting up by its FAILURE TO GIVE parent (or any) IHSS providers sick days off, vacation time, respite, breaks of any kind, is a future generation of very ILL elderly adults, who will flood future ranks of IHSS recipients. I have not had five minutes to myself for over thirty years. I have no extended family, no substitute caregiver/respite provider. I have not been out to dinner or any activity with a single one of my friends in over thirty years. This "job" can only be performed over the long haul by people with extraordinary stamina, excellent health, and a heart full of love. It will wear anyone down to the core. I would challenge Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown to even try to do my job for one month. They would both FAIL! It is high time that CA and the government of the USA recognize full time caregiving of a disabled person as a real job and that they insure that the caregivers are compensated adequately both in hourly and overtime pay as well as benefits. Baby boomers are aging and with that fact alone, the field of caregiving is on the verge of becoming one of the most necessary skills in the job market. It is a travesty that CA has chosen to support illegal Mexican aliens flooding across this border by giving them 8% of my pay check and by taking away necessary hours of care for our USA disabled blind and elderly citizens, who are vulnerable and gravely in need services just to remain alive and get through a day. I am OUTRAGED! Next, you have the issue of our IHSS parent provider paychecks no longer being taxable income. I found that out quite by accident because neither the state of CA not the IHSS county departments have notified parent providers of this change for 2014 income. Sounds good, no taxes? Well, actually not. Now, I can no longer contribute to the little money that I tried to save in a ROTH IRA. if you do not have income, you can't contribute. Next, we can no longer claim an earned income tax credit. This state of CA gets you every way possible! How many IHSS providers are going to be in a helluva big mess of hot water next year after they filed income taxes this year and took the EIC? That ought to be interesting! Personally, I think CA should be fined for it and pay it all back to the IRS. And individual IHSS providers who screwed up their 2014 taxes because of the new 2014 IRS tax rule!
  3. sissy
    May 17, 2015
    what/ you actually GET PAID to care for your elderly parents???? i am in new york and i get ZERO MONEY...wtf

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