June 20, 2022 Update: Hazard pay

We won a major victory this legislative session by securing Hazard Pay for home care workers through June of 2023! As you can see in the chart below, Hazard Pay will continue to gradually decline, but our base Union contract wages will continue to increase. This keeps our wages stable.

March 28, 2022 Update: Hazard pay and CDWA bonus

We have two victories to share with you. First, we’ve won another extension of our temporary hazard pay for all home care workers through the end of June 2022! That’s over two years of continuous hazard pay during this pandemic.

IPs will receive $2.28 per hour of hazard pay for hours worked March – June 2022.

For Agency Providers, we are negotiating hazard pay rates through the end of June with all our employers. Watch your email for more information.

While the current hazard pay rate is extended through the end of June 2022, there will continue to be hazard pay through June of 2023 because of the work we did this legislative session. The hazard pay will continue to gradually decline as it has over the last two years, but our base Union contract wages will continue to increase. We will be bargaining soon with employers for updated hazard pay rates through June 2023 and will update you as we know more.

Also, we have now won a transition bonus for ALL IPs who successfully transition to Consumer Direct (CDWA). There was previously a transition bonus for IPs who met certain deadlines to transition. We have now negotiated a $65 transition bonus for any IP who successfully transitions by June 30 and did not receive the other bonus. IPs will receive this bonus from CDWA if you successfully move to CDWA by June 30, work hours for CDWA between April 1 and June 30, and you have not received a prior transition bonus.

We will provide more information on the timing of this bonus as we have it.

Read the full MOU here.

March 16, 2022 Update: We won an extension of hazard pay!

We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks, but it appears as if hazard pay will continue, though gradually decline, through 2024.

Workers at the top of the wage scale were making $18.25 at the start of the pandemic and are now making more than $21.50 (not counting differentials). Starting home care workers making $16 at the start of the pandemic are making $19.26 today. All home care workers have benefitted – and will keep benefitting – from these increased wages.

We expect to move quickly to negotiate an extension of hazard pay for April-June 2022, and then to negotiate hazard pay for July 2022-June 2023. We also expect to be able to continue, and even increase, the current enhanced wage rates workers are receiving now: the highest wages in the country for Medicaid home care workers.

We will then be working this year through the new Rate Setting Board and through negotiations with Consumer Direct for a new contract starting July 2023 – with the goal of establishing a starting wage of more than $20/hour and permanently increased wages for ALL caregivers.

December 21, 2021 Update: When the pandemic began, the federal government recognized the essential work of long-term care and temporarily increased funding for it. Our Union fought hard and turned that temporary funding into hazard pay for in-home care workers for 20 months.

Those hazard pay wage increases were set to expire at the end of this year, but by standing up together to tell the Governor and Legislature caregivers are essential and we deserve higher wages, we won another extension of hazard pay for home care workers! 

IPs will receive $2.28 an hour hazard pay through March 2022! While this will be slightly less than our current hourly hazard pay rate, IPs will also be receiving a 13-cent an hour raise to our base wages as part of our IP union contract starting Jan. 1. 

For APs, this means we will be going back to the bargaining table with all our employers to negotiate hazard pay through March 2022.

And, we are still fighting to make this wage increase permanent, so all long-term care workers make AT LEAST $20 an hour – but the first step was getting hazard pay extended into 2022!

October 20, 2021 Update: As part of our fight to make the wage increase permanent, we went back into bargaining last month with the State to re-negotiate the second year of our 2021-2023 IP contract. You can find our current 2021-2023 IP contract here.

Here’s what our SEIU 775 bargaining team won:

  • We won a $.90 increase in our base wage scale for the second year of our 2021-2023 contract (an additional 5% raise!). Some of this raise will go into effect July 1 2022, and the rest Jan 1 2023.
  • Our base wage will increase at the end of our contract to a starting wage of more than $18/hour ($18.14), and the average wage will be more than $19/hour!
  • In July 2022, the top step of the base wage scale will increase to more than $20/hour – for the first time ever.
  • And in January 2023, the top three steps of the base wage scale will be above $20/hour. That’s a third of IPs who will be making $20/hour (or more)!
  • Since this increase doesn’t start until next July, we’re still pushing hard to extend hazard pay into 2022. We also made an agreement with the State that will let us re-negotiate our wages if Congress increases federal funding for home care – as we have been pushing for.

This is the first step in our campaign to win permanent $20+ wages for all home care workers even after the temporary hazard pay ends: by winning an increase in our base wage scale.

This is a huge win! But our fight isn’t over! Since our raise doesn’t start until July, we still need to push the Governor and Washington State legislature to extend hazard pay, so it won’t expire in January. Can you send a message to your legislators asking them to pay essential workers a living wage?

October 1, 2021 Update: The State has agreed to re-open our IP contract to negotiate an additional wage increase for the second year of our contract (2022-2023). You can find our current 2021-2023 IP contract here.

Several caregivers joined us in a first bargaining session on September 17, when we demanded both an additional raise and to make the $2.50/hour hazard pay permanent.

“We need to make these higher wages permanent because caregivers like me deserve to be paid for the essential work we do!”

– Lauren Evans, IP, Vancouver, WA

You can check back here or look out for emails from us for more bargaining updates.

March 24, 2020: Hazard Pay will continue for IPs through December 2021 at $2.41 an hour

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers have been bargaining with the State for protection, pay, and support. We’ve sent petitions, shared our stories, and sat (virtually) across from the State at the bargaining table.

Bargaining with the State this year has been very different than our contract negotiations over the last decade. The State is facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit over the next several years because of the pandemic and the economic impact. And they have already imposed furloughs – unpaid days off – on all state employees – and in negotiations with other public employees, the State is proposing wage freezes and even reductions in pay.

While others saw these wage freezes and reductions, caregivers didn’t settle, and we now have two major updates for all in-home caregivers:

  •  IP Contract. The arbitrator heard us and we won a wage increase of five times as much as what the State initially offered – we won an increase in wages of 3% across the two years of the contract. We also won continued affordable healthcare, credit for prior home care work experience, and paid holidays for the first time ever!
  • Hazard Pay. Caregiver Hazard Pay was set to run out at the end of September 2020 – but it’s been extended! For the rest of 2020, IPs will receive an additional $2.56 per hour, and $2.54 per hour from January through June of 2021. July through December of 2021, IPs will receive $2.41 per hour of Hazard Pay. Just like with the previous Hazard Pay awards, we’re negotiating for extended Hazard Pay with all agencies next.

With the IP contract win, we still have a fight ahead of us. We need to demand that our Legislators fund our contract when they go into legislative session in January and make sure that all our clients continue to receive essential home care services. We’ll be telling lawmakers to fund our new contract, which will:

  • Increase wages: We’re getting five times as much what the State initially offered equaling to an increase in wages of 3% across the two years of the contract, which works out to about 25-30 cents per year depending on what step you are at.
  • Not increase healthcare premiums: Funding will cover expected healthcare inflation and our premium cost – $25 per year – will not increase, which it has not for the past decade.
  • Continue providing PPE: The State has agreed to continue providing PPE – at no cost to caregivers – based on public health guidance.
  • Protect caregivers with strong HADit language: Strong language in our contract will help protect caregivers from harassment, abuse, and discrimination.
  • Increase PTO: An increase in the PTO accrual cap from 120 hours to 130 hours.
  • Give caregivers credit for agency work: Starting on July 1, 2022, IPs will be able to get credit on the wage scale for work at private home care agencies. We’ve been fighting for this victory for years!
  • Include paid holidays: Time and a half for caregivers who work on July 4 and New Year’s Day

We won a better contract because members took action – emails, calls, and social media. Now, we need to do the same to fund the contract in the legislative session and to fight for revenue.

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