California Legislature Increases Senior Home Care Costs Again

The Daunting Effects of AB241 – the So-Called “Domestic Worker Rights Bill”

California Passes Legislation That Dramatically Increases The Cost Of Care In The Home For The Elderly And Others

Regardless of how you feel about AB241 bill and the politicians and process who brought it forth and had it passed, the bill is creating a lot of discourse.  AB241 is a bill that was passed into law during 2013 by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Davis.   Heavily promoted by the SEIU and other organized labor groups, AB241 requires that in home caregivers be paid overtime if they work more than nine hours in a day or more than 45 hours in a week.  This requirement applies to every employer in the state, even private family households.

Some Special Interests – Especially The State Itself – Are Exempt From AB241

AB 241 affects about ½ of the home care agencies in the state- the other half are actually referral agencies that transfer the employer responsibility to the client. The referral agencies were exempted from the bill as were IHHS and services to the developmentally delayed (As the mother of a son who is developmentally delayed I hope this exception continues) As the affected agencies, the employer-employee home care agencies are notifying their workers, clients, the conservators/fiduciaries/trust officers of the elimination of the overtime exemption the unintended consequences of the bill is coming to light.

Sharp Increases in Home Care For The Elderly Ahead

The CA Professional Fiduciary Association and the private Geriatric Care managers along with families are very concerned with the rapid increase in the cost of home care. One large home care competitor with multiple locations in many states has just notified its clients that they will no longer be providing live in services as of January 1st, 2014 and will instead offer the alternative of two 12 hour shifts a day for a rate of $650 a day. Many other agencies are quickly trying to create home care registries where the client assumes the liabilities while the agency provides the screening, placement and the relief.

Some families and fiduciaries are now planning on moving debilitated seniors into facilities. A number of agencies are offering “buy out” options so that families can directly hire the workers. While some families will use regular payroll service, most will not be handling tax payments and the aides will lose their unemployment, disability, workers compensation, Medicare and social security coverage.

Additional Cost Increases Are Already Scheduled To Take Place Soon

The next increase in cost comes in July with the minimum wage adjustment and continues until there is an expected increase in home care of over 40% within the next two years . Given that there have been major increases in the cost of long term care coverage (an83% increase in one year for CALPERS) we can expect our aging population and the boomer tsunami to be thrown out on the street or sent to facilities such as one that lost its license in Castro Valley.

AB241 Hurts Workers

While my agency no longer does live-in care, we have one industrious aide who has been working 90 hours a week at $14 an hour and I will have to cut her hours to 45 and gross in half or by $630 a week / $2500 a month and over $30,000 a year . She is the single mother of four children, a legal alien if not citizen, who is trying to house, feed and educate her family in Silicon Valley.  How does AB241 help her?





Kathy Janz
Kathy Janz

Kathy Janz is a registered nurse with a B.S. and Masters in Nursing, with a specialization in Community Health and Geriatrics from New York University. For more than 25 years, she has set up and directed a number of home health and geriatric programs in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as Chicago, Illinois. She has been featured in magazine and newspaper articles and has appeared on local television discussing geriatric issues.

Kathy is the Executive Director of Matched CareGivers, which she established in 1990 to provide case management and personal care attendant staff to the San Mateo and Santa Clara County communities. Services range from 4 – 24 hours shift assistance. Nurse case managers supervise all services. Matched CareGivers strives to maintain the highest standards of care while delivering unsurpassed individually tailored care designed to meet the specific needs of each client.

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