OC Supervisors Sign Off On Raise for Home Care Workers

Orange County’s publicly funded home care workers, who help elderly, blind and disabled people with housework, meal preparation and other daily tasks, will see a raise to $10.20 per hour under a new labor contract.

Under the deal, which was approved by the union late last month and the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the workers – who currently make $9.30 an hour, will see a raise beginning Feb. 1, 2016.

The amount is 20 cents above the new $10 per hour California minimum wage that kicks in at the beginning of January. The deal expires at the end of June.

The workers had been seeking a raise to $10.75 an hour, with union reps at the United Domestic Workers of America arguing that it would be a way for supervisors to show how much they value the blind, disabled and elderly residents who are served by the workers.

California’s home care worker program, formally known as In-Home Supportive Services, dates back to the 1970s, when it was signed into law by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

The idea was to provide an alternative to costly institutionalization of blind, elderly and disabled people and allow them to live more independently in the community.

Today, roughly half a million Californians are served by the program, which is funded by a mix of federal, state and county dollars. In Orange County, about 22,000 workers serve roughly 26,000 people.

You can contact Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.