Frequently Asked Questions for Fiscal Intermediaries

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General Questions/Definitions

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?

Which workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare MN and covered by the new CBA? What is an Individual Provider?

What if a PCA participant chose some of their workers and other workers were recruited by the FI?

What does it mean to be represented by the union and covered by the CBA?

What is a Fiscal Intermediary?

Will each PCA Choice Agency and FSE be required to sign an agreement with the union?

What happens if home care workers go on strike?

 

Union Neutrality

Can I share my thoughts about the union with home care workers? – or – Can I encourage workers to sign up for the union (or not join the union)?

 

Orientation

The letter we received from DHS said that we needed to distribute SEIU membership applications and orientation materials to new workers. When will we get those materials?

 

Paid Time Off (PTO)

How should we calculate Paid Time Off?

How many hours does an IP have to work before they can start using their PTO? Can they use it as soon as they earn it?

Who approves time-off requests?

What happens to PTO hours IPs accumulate but don’t use?

What happens to unused PTO if an IP stops working for participants served by our FI?

 

Wages and Payroll

What are the minimum hourly wage rates?

How can PCA Choice agencies afford to pay more?

How can CDCDS or CSG participants afford to pay workers more and give PTO?

Do PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs need to change their pay period schedule in order to comply with the CBA?

Who sets wages in the PCA Choice program?
 

Data Tracking

What information will we be required to provide to SEIU Healthcare Minnesota?

Will we be asked to send the Union private information about clients/participants?

What if a worker turns in several pay periods worth of time sheets all at once? How should I record that on the spreadsheet?

What if a worker works for more than one participant through our PCA Choice Agency or FSE and each participant pays a different wage?

We have a PCA who works for one participant on PCA Choice and another participant on Traditional PCA. How do we track that PCA’s hours?

 

Union Membership

Are all workers represented by the union and covered by the CBA automatically members of the union?

How do workers become members of the union?

What if a worker doesn’t want to be in the union?

 

Voluntary Dues

How much are union dues?

How will we know which workers have joined the union and agreed to pay dues?

What is the process for collecting and submitting dues?

A worker told me they don’t want to pay dues any more. Can I stop collecting dues?

 

Participant Rights

Can a participant choose to only hire workers who join the union? OR: What if a participant doesn’t want their workers to be members of the union; can they choose to only hire workers who aren’t members of the union?

Now that the home care workers have a CBA will participants get in trouble if they need to terminate or cut the hours of their home care worker? Will workers be able to file a grievance against participants if they are unhappy?

 

CDCS/CSG

How can participants pay workers more and give PTO?

How does this CBA change a CDCS or CSG participant’s ability to set wages for my support workers?

 


 

General Questions/Definitions

What is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?

Collective bargaining is a process where workers, after voting to join together in a labor union, negotiate an agreement with their employer over the terms and conditions of their employment. Home care workers who are represented by SEIU Healthcare MN have negotiated with the State of Minnesota over the parts of their work that the State controls — specifically pay, benefits and training opportunities. The collective bargaining agreement that was reached between the State of MN and the workers represented by SEIU Healthcare MN was ratified by the members of the union, approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor. A CBA is also sometimes referred to as a “contract” or a “labor agreement.” It is a legal document binding both parties (in this case, the state of MN and SEIU Healthcare MN).

 

Which workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare MN and covered by the new CBA? What is an Individual Provider?

The workers represented by the union and covered by the CBA are those in the Collective Bargaining Unit as defined in state law. In the CBA these workers are referred to as Independent Providers (IPs).

Workers Who ARE in the bargaining unit: PCAs and support workers providing State-funded personal assistance services where the participant is the employer through the following programs:

    • PCA Choice
    • Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS)
    • Consumer Support Grant (CSG)
    • New Community First Services and Supports (CFSS) Budget Model (currently in development)

Workers Who Are NOT in the bargaining unit: PCAs and support workers who provide State-funded, agency-employed personal assistance services through Traditional PCA or any other agency-controlled program, and PCAs and support workers who provide services that are not funded through the state’s Medical Assistance program

 

What if a PCA participant chose some of their workers and other workers were recruited by the PCA Choice agency?

Workers who are included in the bargaining unit are defined by which program the participant they serve is in. If a participant has chosen PCA Choice all of the workers who work for that participant are in the bargaining unit.

 

What does it mean to be represented by the union and covered by the CBA?

The home care workers in the collective bargaining unit voted in August 2014 to authorize SEIU Healthcare Minnesota as their exclusive bargaining representative. This means that the union, which is led by its members, represents these workers in negotiations with the State of Minnesota. All workers in the bargaining unit are entitled to representation and to the benefits negotiated by the union.

 

What is a Fiscal Intermediary?

The Fiscal Intermediary (FI) is the Fiscal Support Entity (FSE) or Financial Management Service provider (FMS), or PCA Choice Provider Agency that provides support to participants and participants’ representatives with regard to employing Individual Providers. FIs include PCA Choice Provider Agencies and Fiscal Support Entities who serve CDCS and CSG participants.

 

Will each Fiscal Intermediary be required to sign an agreement with the union?

No. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is between the State of Minnesota and the workers represented by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

 

What happens if home care workers go on strike?

Home care workers are not allowed to go on strike. The law specifically prohibits strikes for this group of workers.

 

Union Neutrality

Can I share my thoughts about the union with home care workers? – or – Can I encourage workers to sign up for the union (or not join the union)?

No. PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs are required to remain neutral on the question of whether or not workers should join the union. That is something for the workers themselves to decide, without interference by the state or their Agency or FSE. If a home care worker wants more information about joining the union, they can simply be directed to SEIU Healthcare MN at www.seiuhealthcaremn.org, or 855-282-3769.

 

Orientation

The letter we received from DHS said that we needed to distribute SEIU membership applications and orientation materials to new workers. When will we get those materials?

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will make membership applications and orientation materials available to all PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs prior to July 1.

 

Paid Time Off (PTO)

How should we calculate Paid Time Off?

IPs earn one hour of PTO for every 52 hours they work. So, for each pay period the FI should take the total number of hours an IP worked for a participant in PCA Choice, CDCS or CSG and divide that number by 52 to determine the total amount of PTO earned for that pay period.

 

How many hours does an IP have to work before they can start using their PTO? Can they use it as soon as they earn it?

While IPs start earning PTO on July 1, 2015 they must work a total of 600 hours in covered programs before they can use their PTO. Hours worked before July 1, 2015 do not count toward those 600 hours.

 

Who approves time-off requests?

The CBA states that IPs “must obtain the express consent of his or her participant/client in order to use PTO.” This means that workers cannot take their PTO without the permission of the participant they work for.

 

What happens to PTO hours IPs accumulate but don’t use?

Workers can carry over up to 80 hours of unused PTO from one year to the next.

 

What happens to unused PTO if an IP stops working for participants served by our FI?

When a worker stops all work through a PCA Choice Agency or FSE, that Agency or FSE must cash out the unused PTO the worker has earned, up to 80 hours.

 

Wages and Payroll

What are the minimum hourly wage rates?

On July 1, 2015, all workers in the bargaining unit must be paid at least $10.75 per hour. On July 1, 2016, those workers must be paid at least $11.00 per hour.

 

How are PCA Choice agencies supposed to pay more from the same rate?

The workers represented by the Union won a rate increase for all PCA services in order to fund their minimum wage increase and new Paid Time Off benefit. Rates will increase by 1.53% on July 1, 2015 and increase by 0.2% on July 1, 2016. More information about the rate increase can be found in DHS Bulletin #15-69-02 http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/publications/documents/pub/dhs16_195009.pdf

 

How can CDCDS or CSG participants afford to pay workers more and give PTO?

Budgets in Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) and Consumer Support Grant (CSG) will increase by 1.53% on July 1, 2015 and by an additional .2% on July 1, 2016 to cover the cost of PTO and wage increases. More information about the rate increase can be found in DHS Bulletin #15-69-02 http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/publications/documents/pub/dhs16_195009.pdf

 

Do PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs need to change their pay period schedule in order to comply with the CBA?

No. PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs may continue to follow their own consistent, established payroll schedule.

 

Who sets wages in the PCA Choice program?

Wages are set by the participant employer. Wages must be set above the minimum wage set in the CBA. PCA Choice agencies may establish a reasonable maximum wage that participants can set.

For example, Apple PCA Agency has established a maximum hourly wage of $15.00. This means that a PCA Choice participant may choose to pay their worker any wage between $10.75/hr and $15.00/hr. This gives participants the flexibility to set wages and give wage increases as needed.

 

Data Tracking

What information will we be required to provide to SEIU Healthcare Minnesota?

PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs will be required to provide information to the Union in order for the State to meet its obligations under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Article 4, Section 2 of the CBA states: The State shall require the Fiscal Intermediaries [PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs] to provide to the Union on a pay period basis, in a sortable electronic format, the following information on Individual Providers [home care workers in PCA Choice, CDCS and CSG]:

  1. full name, with separate fields for first and last names;
  2. full home address, with separate fields for address, city, state, and zip code;
  3. unique Individual Provider ID number;
  4. hours paid in the previous pay period;
  5. hourly wage rate (or rates, if providing services to multiple recipients);
  6. gross pay in the previous pay period;
  7. Fiscal Intermediary name and mailing address;
  8. PTO account balance;
  9. amount of dues deducted in previous pay period; and
  10. any other Individual Provider information in accordance with state law.

DHS will provide a spreadsheet for PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs to use to submit this information. The completed spreadsheet must be submitted to SEIU Healthcare MN within 14 calendar days from the last day of the pay period being reported on.

 

Will we be asked to send the Union private information about clients/participants?

No. Information about program participants is protected by law.

 

What if a worker turns in several pay periods worth of time sheets all at once? How should I record that on the spreadsheet?

All hours that are paid during a pay period should be reported, even if they are for work performed in a previous pay period (because the worker turned in their time-sheet late).

 

What if a worker works for more than one participant through our PCA Choice Agency or FSE and each participant pays a different wage?

You should fill out separate rows for each different wage rate the worker earned during the pay period.

 

We have a PCA who works for one participant on PCA Choice and another participant on Traditional PCA. How do we track that PCA’s hours?

Only hours worked for participants on PCA Choice, CDCS and CSG should be tracked on the spreadsheet.

 

Union Membership

Are all workers represented by the union and covered by the CBA automatically members of the union?

No. All workers who are in the bargaining unit represented by SEIU Healthcare MN decide for themselves whether to become members of the union.

 

How do workers become members of the union?

To become a union member a worker signs a membership card or otherwise formally communicates (e.g. by signing an online membership form) her/his desire to become a member of SEIU Healthcare MN.

What if an IP doesn’t want to be in the union?

Each IP can choose whether or not to become a member of the union.

 

Voluntary Dues

How much are union dues?

Dues rates will be set by, and can be changed by, a vote of the union’s members. Union members will vote to set initial dues rates on mid-June.

 

How will we know which workers have joined the union and agreed to pay dues?

PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs will receive a list of union members who have authorized dues deduction from SEIU Healthcare MN.

 

What is the process for collecting and submitting dues?

Union members will be voting on their dues policy in mid-June, and the arrangements for collecting and submitting dues payments will vary depending on the outcome of that vote. Most likely, PCA Choice Agencies and FSEs will simply deduct a uniform percentage of the hourly wage from each union member’s pay, and remit the total amount of dues for the pay period to SEIU Healthcare MN by check or transfer. We will provide more information about the details of how and where to send dues remittances in the coming weeks, after union members have voted on their dues policy.

 

A worker told me they don’t want to pay dues any more. Can I stop collecting dues?

If a home care worker wants to cancel their union membership they must contact SEIU Healthcare MN directly to withdraw their membership. Dues must be collected from all members included on the list received from the Union, unless the Union informs the PCA Choice Agency or FSE otherwise.

 

Participant Rights

Can a participant choose to only hire workers who join the union? OR: What if a participant doesn’t want their workers to be members of the union; can they choose to only hire workers who aren’t members of the union?

Workers have the right to choose whether or not they become members of their union. Participants in PCA Choice, CDCS and CSG have the right to choose who they hire.

 

Now that the home care workers have a CBA will participants get in trouble if they need to terminate or cut the hours of their home care worker? Will workers be able to file a grievance against participants if they are unhappy?

No. The law says that no agreement between the state and the workers in the union shall interfere with the rights of participants or participants’ representatives to select, hire, direct, supervise and terminate the employment of their home care workers. Participant employers are still required to follow general employment laws, but the CBA changes nothing about those requirements.

 

CDCS/CSG

How can participants pay workers more and give PTO if their budget stays the same?

Budgets in Consumer Directed Community Supports (CDCS) and Consumer Support Grant (CSG) will increase by 1.53% on July 1, 2015 and by an additional .2% on July 1, 2016 to cover the cost of PTO and wage increases. More information about the rate increase can be found in DHS Bulletin #15-69-02 http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/groups/publications/documents/pub/dhs16_195009.pdf

 

How does this CBA change a CDCS or CSG participant’s ability to set wages for my support workers?

Participants still have the right to set wages at or above the wage floor. On July 1, 2015 the wage floor from $9.00/hour to $10.75/hour. The wage floor will increase to $11.00/hour on July 1, 2016.

 

 

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