On Monday, Governor Ned Lamont announced that beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, Connecticut’s minimum wage will increase from the current rate of $15.00 per hour to $15.69 per hour as a result of the state’s first-ever economic indicator adjustment. The newly enacted adjustment is required under Public Act 19-4, which implemented five incremental increases in the minimum wage between 2019 and 2023, followed by future adjustments that are tied to the percentage change in the federal employment cost index (ECI).
A bill called "Higher Wages for American Workers Act of 2023" (S.2785) was introduced on September 13, 2023, to increase the federal minimum wage to $11 an hour over the next four years. The legislation also includes a provision mandating using E-verify to ensure that the wage increase benefits only legally eligible workers. The bill aims to adjust the minimum wage for inflation every two years and offers a slower phase-in for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. This bill is a renewed attempt to raise the minimum wage after a similar proposal in 2021 did not gain traction in the Senate. Many states already have higher minimum wage rates, which automatically adjusts at regular intervals.
A significant challenge in the home care industry is the "sea of sameness" among providers. Most agencies offer similar services, making it challenging for consumers to choose the right provider for their loved ones. However, this challenge presents an opportunity for specialization to cater to specific populations and their unique needs.
The California State Legislature passed a bill (SB 616) that, if signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, would require employers in California to provide workers with five days of sick leave per year, up from the current three days mandated by law. The California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) opposes the legislation, expressing concerns about the increased costs for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and the lack of accompanying funding to cover these expenses. CAHF emphasizes that SNFs largely rely on government payers and fears potential challenges in hiring staff to meet mandatory staffing standards due to ongoing workforce issues. The bill is supported by the California Labor Federation and SEIU California, with proponents arguing that it enables workers to prioritize their health without financial strain, while opponents contend that many small businesses, still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, may struggle to afford the additional sick days.
A recent report from PHI, a New York-based direct care workers advocacy organization, highlights significant challenges faced by the growing direct care workforce in the United States. While the industry is expected to experience substantial growth over the next decade, issues such as low wages persist, exacerbating recruitment and retention problems within the home care industry. The research reveals that despite some wage growth due to state and federal investments in Medicaid funding, wage growth has slowed significantly, with the median hourly wage for direct care workers increasing by only $0.07 per hour in 2021 and $0.02 per hour in 2022.
Stay informed about changes in minimum wage that can affect your business. Today's session promises to be filled with valuable insights and strategies to ensure compliance.
Webinar Date: Wednesday, September 20th
Webinar Time: 10:30 a.m. ET
To join the webinar, simply click: Preparing for Minimum Wage Changes
On August 30, the U.S. Department of Labor introduced a proposed rule to raise the minimum salary required for employees to be exempt from overtime (any hours over 40 hours per week) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Currently set at $35,568 per year ($684 per week), the proposed rule aims to increase this threshold to $55,000 per year ($1,059 per week), affecting over 3.5 million salaried employees who may no longer qualify for overtime exemption if implemented. The rule also raises the salary threshold for Highly Compensated Employees to $143,988 per year. Employers are advised to prepare for potential changes and assess employee eligibility for exemption accordingly.
Join Vicki Hoak, HCAOA’s CEO, on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET for a webinar discussing trends in home care mergers and acquisitions. She will be joined by colleagues from Polsinelli and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice.
During this webinar, attendees will hear from active buyers who will share their experiences in home care agency acquisition transactions and discuss their criteria when targeting agencies for acquisition. The webinar will also cover the mechanics of a home-based care transaction, covering various transaction types and options, the legal framework of a deal, regulatory considerations, pitfalls in the diligence process, and essential steps agency owners should take to prepare their agency for sale.
The temporary exemption for I-9 verification during the COVID-19 pandemic implemented by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) expired on March 20, 2020, and all employees who had been remotely verified during that period must complete a physical inspection by August 30, 2023. Certain employers may now have an alternate virtual option for complying with the requirements.
Addressing Caregiver Shortage: New Online Certification Program Aims to Train 10,000 Home Care Aides in Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and state health officials are launching a free online certification program aimed at certifying 10,000 new home care aides to address the increasing demand for home-based care workers in Wisconsin. The program offers a $500 bonus to certified individuals who remain employed for six months. Funding from the one-time bonus comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. With the impending shortage of caregivers in the state, the program comes at a critical time, and it provides free online training that covers 14 competency areas. Successful completion of the course leads to entry into an online registry, where employers can match caregivers with available positions. The program could potentially serve as a model for other states aiming to address similar caregiver shortages.
HCAOA encourages you to listen to this very important Littler podcast on disability inclusion. People with disabilities make up 16% of the world population and 27% of the US adult population. During this podcast, the speakers will go beyond ADA compliance and discuss how organizations can change their workplace culture to truly be inclusive of people who live with disabilities. Please click HERE to listen.
Over the past few months, HCAOA has been working with the team at Careswitch to launch the Home Care Compensation Report, which offers a unique way for you to see detailed compensation data for caregivers, staff, and owners from other home care agencies. Until now, the report has only been available to participants in the survey. However, this report is now available to ALL HCAOA members.
HCAOA is excited to announce that the cash prize awarded to the 2023 Caregiver of the Year will now be doubled from $1,000 to $2,000, thanks to an investment in our caregivers by HCAOA partner Careswitch. The overall winner will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to the HCAOA conference in Chicago to be recognized in front of industry leaders.
Katrice Turner of Absolute Companion Care in Monkton, MD, was recognized as the 2022 Caregiver of the Year at a special luncheon event during the HCAOA National Conference in September 2022 in Orlando, FL. She was selected as the top home caregiver in the country from more than 300 caregivers from nearly all 50 states. Is your caregiver next?
HCAOA encourages ALL home care agencies to nominate at least one outstanding caregiver for the 2023 Caregiver of the Year Award so we can recognize and honor the top caregivers across the country who provide care and services at home. They deserve this honor for their compassion, commitment, and excellence!
New Study: Shortages Force 89% of Agencies to Turn Away Care + Agencies May Overestimate Caregiver Fulfillment
Eighty-nine percent of providers have had to deny home care because of the workforce crisis. On average, small- and mid-sized providers refuse 510 care hours each month, according to a new study released last week by MissionCare Collective, the parent organization of myCNAjobs. The study also notes that a majority of home care agencies have seen problems surrounding recruitment and retention worsen in the past six months.