Illinois Blocks Funding for Overtime

Home care workers in Illinois will no longer be allowed to work overtime, after Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 261 on Friday, January 27.

The bill would have prohibited Illinois from limiting the number of weekly hours worked by individual providers. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) attempted to address overtime being worked by individual providers in the aftermath of a ruling granting overtime and minimum wage protections to home care workers. Ultimately, the agency took into account the safety of the workers in the taxpayer-funded Home Service Program as well as the increase in costs for agencies that resulted from the original ruling. IDHS has proposed policy that would allow overtime in “appropriate circumstances” and allow the state to put limits on overtime hours.

While Illinois is restricting overtime in an effort to curb state spending, other states are grappling with new policies that are adding costs to providers. Policies in Maine and California are having a more positive impact on care workers, but not so much on agencies.

California recently passed an increase to $15 per hour by 2022 in addition to adding three more sick days for in-home care workers. Maine’s minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour by 2020.

Minimum Wage Increases Win in Several States During Midterm Elections

After last Tuesday’s referendums, including legislation passed in Maryland, Hawaii, and West Virginia, 29 states will soon have a higher minimum wage. Fifteen states have decided tie their minimum wage increase to an inflation index.

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota chose to increase their states’ minimum wages last Tuesday. Starting in January, 2015, an estimated 420,000 of the lowest-paid workers will see their paychecks grow.

San Francisco opted to start paying workers $15 per hour, matching the national high. The increase in San Francisco will be phased in over time, reaching $15 by 2018. This was passed by more than 76% of voters, who opted to match Seattle in offering the highest minimum wage in the nation.

In Illinois, 66% of voters supported a non-binding resolution to raise the minimum wage to $10 by 2015. On the East Coast, Massachusetts’ voters made their state the third in the nation to require paid sick leave for workers, after Connecticut and California.