* Illinois Public Radio’s Tom Lisi…
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test Tuesday. Starting August 1, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.
Some families affected by the rule showed up at a hearing to demonstrate their objections. K.L. Cleeton, 28, lives in Effingham with his parents. He says he made the choice with his parents that they would quit their day jobs and devote themselves to his full-time care.
“Because my disability is so severe, I require 24-hour assistance. If I have an itch, I can’t scratch it. So this is very much my choice,” Cleeton said.
When the new rules kick in, his parents will be limited to 45 hours of on-the-clock work in taking care of him. After that, they’ll have to find an outside worker to fill in the gaps — and figure out to how to replace the lost income.
The overtime rule has become an issue between Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents the home care workers. The union issued a statement Tuesday saying that any savings the administration expects from the new rule would be wiped out if 182 people now receiving home care assistance are forced instead into nursing homes. The administration thinks placing limits on overtime will save $8 million.
“That’s not the main purpose of the rule,” Flather said. “The main thrust of this rule is customer security.”
Democrats twice tried to pass motions that would have prevented the rule from being put into effect. Both times the motion failed on tie votes of 6-6.
Flather said the agency will send communications to clients in the next week or two that will tell then what to expect.
* Press release…
In a vote along party lines, republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted to approve Governor Bruce Rauner’s DHS Overtime Policy. Over the last year, people with disabilities, their caregivers, and advocates have warned about the devastating affects this misguided policy would have on the lives of consumers and workers in the DHS Home Services Program (HSP). Despite the outcry from stakeholders, Bruce Rauner and DHS refused to meet with those impacted and instead stayed the course to implement their rules.
Following is statement on behalf of Access Living, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the JCAR vote:
“Today, thousands of people with disabilities and personal assistants in the DHS Home Services Program were abandoned by republican JCAR members. Hundreds of phone calls, emails, and personal letters were submitted to JCAR prior to their vote highlighting the problems with this policy. Instead of heeding the warnings, republican JCAR members voted to undermine the strength of the Home Services Program and the independence of people with disabilities.
“No one won today with this unfortunate vote – not people with disabilities, not personal assistants, and certainly not Illinois taxpayers. The minor cost-savings projected from this misguided policy will be completely negated if only 182 individuals with disabilities are forced into more costly nursing home care as a result, stripping them of their dignity and independence and leaving Illinois taxpayers to foot the bill.
“Our coalition vows to continue the fight against this terrible policy and our commitment to reaching a fair agreement that will protect the health and safety of people with disabilities remains.”