LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday recommended a wage increase for in-home health care workers.
Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn co-authored a motion to authorize an increase in the county’s contribution to the workers’ pay by $1 over the next three years, subject to state approvals. If the state agrees to pay 65 percent of the increase — in line with historical contributions — that would mean a $2.85 total hourly pay raise.
In-home supportive services workers serve “some of the most vulnerable members of their respective communities,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Wage equity for IHSS workers continues to be a very important quality of life issue that must not be ignored.”
IHSS workers are currently paid $11.18 per hour to care for low-income seniors and children and adults with special needs in the familiar setting of their own home. The hourly wage is set to increase to $12 per hour as of Jan. 1.
The new proposed wage hike would be phased in over three years, with 60 percent of the increase planned for the first year following state approval.
IHSS workers do not provide medical care, but help with tasks like preparing meals, getting to doctors’ visits, taking medication, bathing and personal hygiene.
Hahn said they are “doing the hard work that many people refuse to do … with so much compassion and so little pay.”
A union leader praised the move.
“The members of SEIU Local 2015, their consumers and community leaders have been working diligently across the state to make sure that caregiving is a dignified job — one that is not only respected, but held in high esteem,” said April Verrett, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 2015. “Today’s vote by the Board of Supervisors moves us closer to winning the dignity these workers deserve.”
The board’s vote also approves $150,000 for supplies that promote workplace safety, including protective gloves, masks and antibacterial soap.
The local union represents more than 385,000 home care, skilled nursing facility and assisted living center workers. IHSS caregivers in Los Angeles County have been working without a contract since July 31, 2017.