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UDWA News Post

Care for All: UDW takes on the IHSS crisis

As a union representing over 120,000 caregivers, it’s not news to us that the IHSS program has problems getting care to the people who need it. But a new report from the California State Auditor has shed new light on the specific details of the home care crisis—and given us a new tool to push for better pay and benefits.

According to the Auditor’s report, over 40,000 IHSS recipients go without care every month. The report also found that counties are not properly preparing for expected growth in the future. With the senior population set to double by 2030, that’s not just an oversight—it’s negligence.

The main reason the audit found that people are not getting the care they need is that IHSS pay is too low.

From the audit: “Recruiting a sufficient number of caregivers will be difficult because the job pays minimum or near-minimum wage, below a living wage in even the State’s most affordable counties.”

What does this mean for us? Think of the audit as a report card on IHSS and the counties and the state all failed. They know something has to change and are ready to listen to our ideas. So we have presented the legislature with proposals designed to make it more easier for counties to raise our wages.

Our 2021 Budget Proposals:

  • Don’t increase counties’ share of cost: Currently, the share of cost for locally negotiated wage and benefit increases for IHSS providers has been 65% paid by the State and 35% paid by the County. That’s set to flip on January 1, 2022, so we are proposing to keep it as is and make it easier for counties to say YES to pay raises.
  • Penalize counties that don’t bargain in good faith: Currently, counties that refuse to bargain with us for a pay raise pay a 1% penalty. We believe raising that to 10% will send a stronger message.
  • End the 7% cut to IHSS hours once and for all: This cut goes back to 2013 and has been restored on a year-to-year basis since 2015. It’s time to take it off the books once and for all.

“The California State Auditor’s report shows that the IHSS program is at the breaking point and only higher caregiver pay can save it,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “Leaving tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities uncared for every month is unacceptable and we all must demand immediate action from our elected officials. The proposals put forth by UDW caregivers lay out a clear path out of this crisis and toward a future where everyone has the care they need.”

Want to help us win our budget asks? Call the Governor’s office at 1-855-223-0687 or visit before May 14 to make your voice heard.