Update (May 4,2016): Update on Home Services Program
Update (May 2, 2016): New Overtime Guidelines now enforced
Update (January 24, 2017): The overtime rules, after being rescinded in August 2016, were reintroduced to the Joint Committee on Administration Rules. Though the cap on hours has been raised to 45 hours a week, the new version is also unacceptable. JCAR is scheduled to vote on the rules on February 15. Visit this link for an Action Alert to send a message to JCAR
Update (January 25, 2017): Response from Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana in response to Governor Rauner State of the State Click here for Statement
In late November 2015, Access Living learned that the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) at the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) is in the process of implementing changes to the Home Services Program. The changes are a result of a new Federal rule at the U.S. Department of Labor. The rule mandates that states pay overtime and travel time to workers who provide direct care services, such as personal assistants with the Home Services Program.
Illinois intends to enforce the new rules beginning March 1, 2016. The new rules include changes that impact consumers within the Home Services Program and personal assistants. These changes include:
* Individual Providers may not work more than 40 hours per week, except for certain consumers who meet the criteria for one of two exceptions. The State will pay overtime to Individual Providers who have approval to serve the consumers who meet the criteria.
* Consumers who have more than 35 hours per week must have at least two Individual Providers. If you have more than 70 hours per week, you must have at least three Individual Providers. If you have more than 105 hours, you must have four Individual Providers. If you have more than 140 hours, you must have five Individual Providers.
* Individual Providers will be paid for travel time traveling between consumers on the same day.
* If an Individual Provider receives more than two written warnings for working unapproved overtime, they will be terminated. The consumer will also receive written notification. The consumer will be notified of appeals rights.
Access Living supports overtime and travel time for personal assistants. Personal assistants are a key link to independence. Overtime and travel time pay will help retain qualified individuals within the personal assistant pool.
Yet, there are concerns about the implementation and some of the changes within the new rule. Among other things, there is concern that the March 1 deadline does not give consumers and personal assistants enough time to prepare for the changes. A consumer with personal assistants who work more than 40 hours a week may lose service hours if one or more of his or her workers can no longer provide services because of the 40 hour cap. Consumers may lose control over the hiring process if they are forced to hire more personal assistants or need to go outside of their network in order to hire personal assistants.
At this point, Access Living is working internally and with other organizations to gather more information about the new rules and to bring concerns about the new rules to the State of Illinois and to the Department of Labor. In the meantime, if you have questions about the policy, please Access Living’s Director of Advocacy, Amber Smock at email@example.com.
Here is more on the issue:
Deadline approaching for Home Services Overtime Rule
Family speaks out against overtime implementation
Family from Western Illinois shares concerns about overtime
State postpones deadline for rule implementation