Illinois state officials countered union claims Tuesday that a plan to cap the hours of home healthcare officials will hurt their patients.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) proposed a 40-hour cap to overtime in response to a new federal rule. The Department of Labor (DOL) expanded overtime last year to home healthcare providers. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) claim the cap will hurt recipients but state officials argue it is a necessary and responsible cost-saving plan.
“Nearly every private business and government agency in the country attempts to control overtime abuse and overtime costs,” a state official told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And it would be irresponsible to the taxpayers of Illinois if the Dept. of Human Services did not do the same for home health providers.”
Illinois plans to implement the cap May 1 on working hours because of the increased costs the expanded overtime will have on the state budget. The SEIU Healthcare Illinois has warned numerous times the proposed cap will cause huge problems for home healthcare patients in need of more regular care.
“Their plans would place an undue hardship on home care consumers and workers and we oppose these plans as a result,” SEIU Healthcare Illinois warned Dec. 9. “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.”
SEIU Healthcare Illinois also noted Feb. 29 that they are exploring possible legal challenges to the state overtime cap. The cap is not written to impact the amount of hours a home care recipient receives, only the hours a provider can work. State law includes a needs scale that does not change based on the upcoming overtime cap.
The needs scale is specifically designed to determine how many hours a recipient needs based on a changing basis. An emergency situation will cause the scale for a specific recipient to increase. If someone needs over forty hours a week of care another home healthcare provider will be assigned. The recipient also has the choice of picking their second provider.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.
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