When you’re hearing so much about COVID-19, it can be overwhelming and hard to know what to believe. Below are trusted resources that we will be updating continuously with the latest information, as well as best practices for keeping yourself, your family, and your client healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hazard Pay:
Question: Are caregivers getting Hazard Pay?

Answer:  We fought for and won hazard pay for Washington home care workers. Go to our Contracts page to lean about the most recent hazard pay information by employer.

Client Safety:
Question: What do I do if I or my client gets COVID-19 or is exposed to COVID-19?

Answer: This is a big concern of many caregivers. We encourage you to call your/your client’s primary care physician, and contact your client’s case manager if you are an IP or your supervisor if you are an agency provider. Additionally, the Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public – their number is 1-800-525-0127.

Home Care Guidance for Tele-Health from DSHS: View this document for a list of tasks that can now be done by phone or remotely, and which tasks can only be provided in person. If you work for a private home care agency consult with your agency supervisor before doing tasks by phone or remotely.

COVID-19 Home Health/Home Care Guidelines: This document provides guidance for staff of home care, home health and hospice agencies to use when helping patients around the house or with personal or clinical care.

Lost Hours:


Question: I lost hours or lost a client due to the COVID-19 – what can I do?

Answer: Depending on your situation, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Comp/L&I, Paid Family Leave Act, or use PTO. You can learn more by clicking below – including taking a quiz that can help point you in the direction of the best resource for you. If you are interested in getting hours with a new client, you can also sign up at CarinaCare.com.

Vaccine Information:

Question: Do I need insurance to get the vaccine?

Answer: No, the COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone and no insurance is needed. Vaccination providers cannot charge you for the vaccine, including copays or coinsurance, or deny the vaccine to anyone without health insurance, or who is underinsured or out of network.

Question: Who can get the vaccine now in Washington state?

Answer: Anyone 5 years of age or older is now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Question: My client can’t leave home. How do I get the vaccine for them?

Answer: You can request “homebound vaccination services”. To do so:

Question: How do I know which vaccine I will get?

Answer: You can go to Vaccines.gov to search by a particular brand of vaccine. However, getting any vaccine is the most important. The CDC recommends that we should get any COVID-19 vaccine that is available and not wait for a specific brand.

Question: Do I still need the vaccine if I already had COVID?

Answer: Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible — although rare — that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.

Question: I’m a caregiver, where can I get PPE?

Answer: Together we fought for and won free PPE for caregivers. APs should request PPE through their agencies. IPs can order one PPE kit per month, per client, through Workday in CDWA’s DirectMyCare portal. Instructions on ordering are here

Question: Can I get COVID-19 from the Vaccine?

Answer: No. There are no live virus particles. While you might feel minor, temporary side effects from the injection, it is impossible to contract the virus from the vaccine.

Question: Will the vaccine cause side effects? If so, how long might they last?

Answer: Some people who get a COVID-19 vaccine will experience side effects, particularly after a second dose. The side effects of the vaccine appear to be minor and temporary. Participants have reported pain at the injection site, fatigue, and occasional fever, headache, or aching muscles and joints. These side effects fade within 1-2 days.

These side effects are actually common with all vaccines: they are a sign that a vaccine is working and triggering an immune response.

Working People:
Question: With so many people losing hours and jobs, is there anything we can do to help?

Answer: We know that many people that work at closed businesses are out of work. We are joining with SEIU nationally and other unions to demand economic stimulus focused on working people, not big corporations. Among other things, we are calling for meaningful income replacement checks for all, regardless of citizenship or employment status. You can find out more at protectallworkers.org.

Resources:

Gloves: IPs serving Medicaid and state-only-funded clients have access to gloves as part of each client’s health benefits, thanks to our Union contract. To learn how to get them, click here.

Overtime limits to protect parent providers and live-in caregivers: While they are not eliminating the workweek limits across the board, the state has indicated that they are likely to approve temporarily waiving the overtime workweek limits on a case-by-case basis, especially where there is a concern about bringing additional caregivers into a shared living situation in a way that would increase risk of transmitting COVID-19. You can send a letter to your caseworker requesting an Exception to Client Specific Work Week Limit (CSWWL) to be able to exceed your work week limit and provide all of your client’s authorized hours. We have a template you can use here.

If you experience symptoms of, or believe you were exposed to COVID-19, call these hotlines:

  • Washington State Department of Health Coronavirus hotline: 1-800-525-0127 between 6 am and 10 pm
  • King County Coronavirus hotline: 206-477-3977 between 8 am and 7 pm

Find your local Health Department online here  – Washington State Department of Health

Montana Information: Information and resources for Montanans is available here.

SEIU 775 and SEIU 775 Benefits Group Resources

How to get Vaccinated: Find out how to get yourself and your client vaccinated here.

SEIU 775 in the News: Read about what caregivers are doing and how the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting us.

Access to COVID-19 Testing and Health Benefits: Learn more information from SEIU 775 Benefits Group.

HCA Certification Exam Rescheduling: Learn more information from SEIU 775 Benefits Group.

Training Information and Updates for Caregivers: Learn more information from SEIU 775 Benefits Group.

Lost Hours

Apply for Unemployment Insurance, Workers’ Comp/L&I, Paid Family Leave Act, or use PTO:

Fact Sheets (Multilingual)

Public Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet – Seattle and King County

Multilingual Coronavirus Fact Sheet – Washington State Department of Health

Caring for others runs in the Williams family. Danielle Williams, 52, and her daughter, Brittany, 35, have spent their entire adult lives caring for others: doing the unpaid labor of tending to family members and looking after elderly and disabled adults in their jobs as home care workers.

Their work days are largely similar. Both mother and daughter rise early and make a lengthy commute — up to one hour by car for Danielle and up to two hours by bus for Brittany. They make their clients’ meals. They shop for groceries and clothes, pick up medicine, run to the post office. They care for pets. They dress and undress, change diapers and give baths. They assist with medication. They dust, vacuum and do the laundry. They talk and listen to the stories of their clients’ lives, often for hours.

But the similarities end there. Brittany makes nearly $20 an hour, usually working five days a week. But without child care for her 8-year-old son during the pandemic, she’s been working no more than four. She has paid time off, medical and dental insurance, a retirement plan and many other benefits. Danielle works seven days a week making half Brittany’s wage. She has no benefits through her job, qualifies for Medicaid and is barely able to survive.

These differences come down to where Brittany and Danielle live. Brittany lives in Washington State and belongs to a union of long-term-care workers, S.E.I.U. Local 775, that has worked with the state for better pay and working conditions. Danielle lives in Arkansas, where she has none of that. Across the nation, this pattern repeats itself: Home care aides in states where the work force has unionized and won the right to collectively bargain with the state have living wages and benefits, while those in states without unions have lower wages and minimal benefits — if any at all.

Read more at The New York Times.

In the midst of the pandemic, we told legislators, “You Clapped. Now Act!” And now, because of the thousands of actions taken by caregivers during a year when we were up against an incredible number of challenges, those legislators took action and chose to stand by caregivers.

Now that Washington state’s legislative session has ended, here’s everything we fought for – and won!

No cuts to long-term care

Last summer, the State proposed cuts of $1.1 billion in long-term care services for the elderly and people with disabilities. And we fought back because we knew that cuts to these critical Long-Term Services and Supports at any point in history is harmful – but during a pandemic, it would be tantamount to neglect. And our legislators heard us! The House and Senate budget have NO cuts to long-term care.

Funding for our new IP contract with agency parity

In the middle of a global pandemic and the COVID-induced economic downturn, together, we successfully bargained for our 2021-2023 IP contract with the State. Now that it has been fully funded, this contract will:

  • Increase wages by 3% across the two years of the contract – keeping up with rising costs
  • Keep our healthcare premiums affordable (but no expansion to dependent coverage)
  • Continue supplying PPE at no cost to caregivers
  • Protect us with strong HADit (Harassment Abuse & Discrimination) language
  • Give credit for prior home care experience and include paid holidays (starting July 1, 2022)

Funding increases in nursing home funding for 2021-2023

We won over $70 million in increased funding for nursing homes that we can now bargain into meaningful victories. From increased wages to better benefits, we know that the nursing home system in Washington must invest in frontline workers to rebuild after years of underfunding. This year is a good step towards those investments but we have more work to do to ensure safe staffing and strong union jobs in nursing homes across Washington.

The Working Families Tax Credit is heading to the governor’s desk to be signed into law

Starting in 2023, this will provide a tax rebate of $300-$1200 for more than 400,000 low- and moderate-income Washington residents. In addition, the capital gains tax on extraordinary profits from the sale of stocks, bonds or luxury assets (like yachts) passed! Profits over $250,000 will be taxed 7 percent with exemptions for small businesses, retirement accounts, sale of a primary residence, and a few other items to ensure the wealthy pay their share in taxes.

Funding for affordable housing and renter protections

The legislature passed House Bill 1236 – preventing people from being evicted without the landlord having “just cause” to evict – as well as Senate Bill 5160: the right to legal counsel if facing eviction and mandatory eviction support to help prevent people from losing their homes. They also passed rental subsidies for people leaving nursing homes to be able to afford rent and enter back into their community.

We also won:

  • Funding to eliminate the Shared Benefit Rule and increase hours for thousands of home care clients by the end of 2021
  • New additional funding for the immigrant relief fund to support undocumented workers ineligible for federal and unemployment benefits

In a year when we couldn’t go to the Capitol or talk to our legislators in person, we still made sure they could hear us – whether it was sending emails, making calls, or joining a virtual Purple Presence. We’re stronger together, and sharing our stories is how we built support for our priorities.

Thank you for taking action!