RIVERSIDE (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday tentatively approved a three-year agreement guaranteeing modest hourly wage increases for Riverside County In-Home Supportive Services caregivers, whose ranks the county has been trying to increase.
In a 5-0 vote, the board signed off on a wage growth plan, as well as increased appropriations for health and life insurance coverage, totaling $55.67 million from the current fiscal year to the end of 2024-25.
The compact between the county and United Domestic Workers-American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Local 3930, must be ratified by union members, as well as receive state approval, before it can go into effect.
“In-home workers perform a critical service to help elderly and disabled residents safely stay in their homes,” Board Chairman Kevin Jeffries said. “This tentative agreement acknowledges the difficult service these providers offer, as well as the need to attract more workers for the thousands of elderly residents currently waiting for a caregiver.”
IHSS workers have appeared before the board in recent months to reinforce the message that they’re in need of pay hikes.
Under the provisionally approved compact, caregivers would receive an immediate 75-cent hourly wage increase following implementation of the new terms, then another 75-cent hike in January 2024, and a final $1 increase in January 2025.
Hourly pay rates would rise from $16 currently to $18.50 by the first quarter of 2025.
Under the agreement, the county would be responsible for covering 16% of costs, using General Fund revenue, while the federal government would cover 50%, and the state 34%.
According to the county, there are roughly 38,000 IHSS workers countywide as of the current fiscal year.
Caregivers provide direct assistance to low-income seniors and the disabled who are living independently, including meal preparation, bathing, medication dispensation and other on-site care.
Some caregivers are related to the residents who receive services under the system, which is state-mandated.
The Department of Public Social Services has been running an ongoing recruitment campaign to swell the IHSS workforce due to rapidly increasing demand.
Officials have said that the greatest need is in the Coachella Valley, as well as in the communities of Anza, Blythe, Hemet and Idyllwild.
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