To truly advance dignity in the home, we need to expand supports for families and individuals that need in-home assistance at the same time that we value the labor force that provides the in-home support. The dignity of California’s families depends on it. Below is our policy platform to advocate for Dignity in the Home, which the California Domestic Workers Coalition is advancing in collaboration with the Northern & Southern California Care Councils – multiple organizations supporting labor, immigrant, senior & disability rights at the local, statewide, & federal levels.
Tens of thousands of San Francisco seniors and people with disabilities need home care to live safely and independently in their homes. Support might include assistance with eating, bathing, getting in and out of bed, doing laundry, or preparing food. Support might enable someone to get out of bed and go to the local community center, or to see a friend. The Support at Home Program, launched by the Northern California Care Council and SF supervisor Eric Mar, would subsidize the cost of home care for seniors and adults with disabilities in San Francisco who do not qualify for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) without a large share of cost but do not have enough income to afford private home care. With access to homecare, these community members are less likely to face social isolation, premature institutionalization or death.
The right to overtime pay is just one of many that the people who look after our loved ones and homes deserve. In 2013, domestic workers in California won the most comprehensive right to overtime in the country and the law is scheduled to sunset in early 2017. Sponsored by the California Domestic Workers Coalition, SB 1015 (Leyva) affirms the dignity of domestic workers and their families by ensuring that their work of attending to seniors, people with disabilities, and children is permanently recognized with overtime protection.
Currently, individuals who provide services through the state’s IHSS program to their child or spouse are not allowed to contribute towards social security, Medicare, or state unemployment insurance (UI). This means that when they retire, if they become disabled, or if they lose their jobs, these hardworking caregivers do not have access to our nation’s most important programs for seniors and the uninsured. Sponsored by AFSCME UDW, AB 1930 (Lackey) would simply establish an advisory committee to study how this exclusion impacts the economic security of individuals who provide these critical services and their communities. AB 1930 would require the committee to report back to the Legislature with recommendations on steps that the state can take to ensure that IHSS providers that are taking care of family members have access to social security, Medicare, and UI.
One person is turning 65 every 8 seconds, and nearly 70% of people over 65 will need at least 3 years of long-term care. Federal action on reforming our long-term services and supports (LTSS) system is needed, but will take time. In the meantime, states are on the frontlines of dealing with an increasing aging population in need of services and supports and the careforce that supports them. By offering critical resources to explore policy options at the state level, this legislation will support state efforts to develop and implement innovating solutions and will build experience and knowledge for state, federal, and local policy makers to consider. Introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono, The LIFEtime Act would establish a state innovation fund, creating a federal grant program to provide State Planning Grants and Pilot Project Planning Grants to plan and implement innovative strategies to meet LTSS needs.
The Dignity in the Home Platform is sponsored by members of the Northern and Southern California Care Councils: Hand in Hand, The Domestic Employers Network, Senior and Disability Action, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Jobs with Justice San Francisco Bay Area, Bend the Arc, & Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California