All home care workers protected by District 1199’s union contract with Connecticut’s Department of Social Services and Department of Developmental Services will receive a lump sum of hazard pay in the amount of 7.5% for all hours worked in the months of April, May and June 2020.
The agreement between District 1199 and the State of Connecticut to address hazardous duty due to COVID-19 was signed on July 13th, 2020. Payments are expected to be delivered to workers on or before August 12th, 2020. The union contract with the state’s Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council covers 10,000 independent home care providers through DSS’s and DDS’s Medicaid waiver programs.
“For months, our members have been actively and vocally working to secure hazard pay. We are incredibly proud to have secured a 7.5% compensation in hazard pay that recognizes the risks that workers have assumed through the pandemic,” said Rob Baril, President of the New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199, SEIU. “We look forward to a swift implementation and clear communication by the agencies involved to these brave workers.”
Despite the historic nature of this agreement, the Workforce Council has opted out of communicating this important development directly to workers. To our great concern, the Union has received notification from workers that Allied Community Resources, the fiscal intermediary in charge of payroll for thousands of home care union workers, first told them that hazard pay was capped at 5% and then later told them that no hazard pay will be issued. As we have witnessed with other issues surrounding this pandemic, failures in communication leaves workers in limbo without access to clear information.
“We’re proud of the hazard pay agreement we’ve secured. But throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen the Workforce Council wash their hands of their responsibility toward the 10,000 homecare workers, like me, who support our consumers to live independently at home. Not only does the state refuse to give equal access to us as caregivers to request and receive PPE, but it won’t even send us a corrected notice of the hazard pay agreement between the state and our Union,” said Kara O’Dwyer, a home care worker from West Haven. “As usual, we’re left to our own devices to scrutinize conflicting information received from Allied and our consumers. This program is set up, funded, and administered by the State of Connecticut, and the Workforce Council should take responsibility to communicate directly with us as we continue to work tirelessly on the front lines to support our consumers, who are exposed to high risk during this pandemic.”
To be clear, the hazard pay agreement has been included with this press release. The relevant language regarding hazard pay percentage, hazard pay period and hazard payment deadline states the following:
“4. Pursuant to a demand to bargain, the Council and the Union have fully negotiated the matter of the amount of pay and have agreed that eligible nonagency-based home care workers covered by the current collective bargaining agreement will receive a lump sum hazardous duty payment of seven and one-half percent (7.5%) calculated on the amount of wages paid for all hours worked for the period of April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020 for consumers who self-direct
- The designated Fiscal intermediaries (FIs) will issue these lump sum payment checks to eligible workers no later than thirty (30) days of full execution of this Agreement. These payments will not affect consumer budgets.”
Private agency home care workers are not currently covered by SEIU 1199’s union contract and thus are not included in this hazard pay agreement for union workers.