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home : news : state news free August 20, 2017

3/16/2017 1:19:00 PM
Panel approves OT rule for home care workers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A legislative panel in Illinois has failed to block a new overtime rule for home care workers that is expected to be in place by late summer.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules deadlocked twice along party lines after Democrats’ tried to stop the Department of Human Services from implementing the rule.

The department can now enforce the rule that will cap workers in the home services program at 40 hours a week, with some exceptions. The personal assistants help people with disabilities live in their homes rather than in a nursing home or another facility.

Department officials say the new rule will cut state costs and result in better service to clients. But disability advocates say many clients need more extensive care than 40 hours per week, and that they’ll have to find a second caregiver with whom they may not have the same kind of relationship.

The department’s chief of staff, Fred Flather, said all of the agency’s clients will continue to receive the services they need. He said 89 percent of the care providers work less than 45 hours a week.

“This will have virtually no impact on them,” Flather said.

The overtime rule has become an issue between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents the home care workers. The administration believes overtime limits will save the state $8 million. The union said in a statement that any savings would be wiped out if the more than 180 people now receiving home care assistance are forced into nursing homes.

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