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2018 legislative session brings many wins for caregivers

UDW caregiver Giuliana Garcia testified at the CA state legislature about her experience being sexually harassed by a client

UDW caregivers fight for IHSS and the clients who need it—at the kitchen table, at the bargaining table, and at the California State Legislature, where many critical decisions about our program and how it is funded are made. This year, UDW members won a number of important victories, and helped these bills become law:

  • Protecting IHSS providers from sexual harassment

Because there are currently no protections in place for us, many IHSS providers have endured sexual harassment in the workplace in silence. To begin to end this abuse, UDW co-sponsored AB 3082, which requires the Department of Social Services to establish sexual harassment education for providers and consumers, and develop proposals to collect data that will work towards addressing sexual harassment in the IHSS program.

  • Keeping seniors and people with disabilities safe during natural disasters

Wildfires and other natural disasters have a disproportionate effect on the seniors and people with disabilities who are cared for under the IHSS program. To protect our clients during natural disasters, we co-sponsored SB 1040. This new law ensures that IHSS recipients receive the care and services they need during natural disasters and that counties include plans specifically for IHSS recipients in their emergency response plans.

  • Improving paid sick leave

Providers who are too sick to go to work put themselves and their clients at risk. A provider backup system would ensure that there is no disruption to a client’s continuity of care.  AB 1811 directs the state to work with the IHSS provider paid sick leave workgroup to collect evidence and continues to put pressure on the state to mandate backup systems.

  • Preparing for California’s future long-term care needs

As California’s population of seniors and people with disabilities continues to increase, it is crucial that we invest in and plan for the future of long-term care. SB 840 allocates $3 million from the General Fund for the collection and analysis of data on long-term services and supports in California through the California Health Interview Survey.

  • Protecting our privacy

SB 840 also has language that protects client and provider privacy in the implementation of Electronic Visit Verification (EVV), which we successfully delayed until at least 2020.

We will be back at the legislature for the 2019 session, making sure that our IHSS program is protected for the future—and that caregivers’ voices are heard!