COVID-19 Impact on Home Care Workers

When state lawmakers passed an emergency funding bill for the healthcare system to deal with COVID-19, they left out home care workers altogether. We have been pushing hard at both the state and federal levels to make sure the vital services our home care members provide to seniors and people with disabilities are valued and that emergency measures are taken to support them. Last Friday, Gov. Walz issued an executive order waiving many of the normal paperwork requirements in our home care system that could serve as obstacles to clients getting the support they need during this crisis. Now we need both state and federal lawmakers to put emergency funding into the home care system, for urgent needs like overtime pay, Personal Protective Equipment, and additional sick pay for workers who need to stay home due to the virus. Several hundred home care members participated in a telephone town hall meeting on Friday to share their concerns and issues and to shape the union’s response to this crisis. Executive Board member Francis Hall shared her story, and the urgent need for PPE and other emergency support with thousands of other SEIU members on a national call with International President Mary Kay Henry on Saturday. In addition to our push for emergency funding, we are demanding that state officials provide public health information and guidance directly to all home care workers and clients through mass communications – something the state has never done before, but is urgently needed to combat the lack of information, misinformation, and confusion many of our members and their clients are currently experiencing regarding COVID-19.

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