Home care agencies and caregivers who are tirelessly working during the pandemic are waiting for the information regarding the effect of newly signed paid sick leave policy.
Since most of the organizations delivering personal care services are eventually making every possible effort in managing care for the elderly, there remain several challenges that require immediate attention.
While President Donald Trump recently signed the FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act), which would be soon imposed in the law, there’s good hope for the caregivers and agencies currently serving in diverse states of the U.S.
The new law provides guaranteed paid sick leaves along with paid time off for the workers who are delivering adequate care for the seniors to look after their children and elderly at home.
Here’s the detailed information regarding the new law, current challenges, and how it would impact the entire home care industry.
What exactly is FFCRA?
The federal government is closely monitoring the pandemic and they do realize the importance of home care services at this crucial time. While most of the caregivers are fearing to go to their allocated shifts due to coronavirus outbreak, senior care is widely affected, which is a serious matter of concern.
The law is for organizations with less than 500 workers since the big organizations have already covered paid sick leaves and other benefits for the sake of their workers. Also, the big agencies have provided time-off policies for the welfare of their employees.
As per the resources, the U.S. government may exempt small companies/agencies from the mandate if they currently have less than 50 employees.
When the Law would be in Effect?
The government officials made it clear that the law would be in effect in the upcoming two weeks. As the situations are already challenging and every agency wants their caregivers should be serving the elderly and patients.
On the other hand, most of the caregivers are single moms who have children at their home and they also demand adequate care. A situation here arises when the federal government should also pay equal attention to the home care service providers just like the ones delivering health care services.
The small organizations are thus convincing that home care agencies should also be exempted from the new law as they are already operating on low margins. If the mandate is passed, they would surely have to think about their existence in the market.
Many small and medium-sized organizations are already running in a competitive market, which also depicts their little profit margins. This shouldn’t be ignored by the federal government.
The Current Situation of Elderly Care
Thousands of elderly are quarantined and most of them have severe disabilities. The ones who are isolated require proper care from the caregivers besides the fact that the industry is already facing a shortage of in-home caregivers.
Supporting the seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia is challenging in itself and isolation & social distancing make situations even worse.
If home caregivers aren’t sufficiently available to serve the ones with medical conditions and the ones with severe symptoms of COVID-19, the policymakers would have to step in by taking adequate measures.
Apart from this, if caregivers aren’t available for their shifts, which is seen in several states, there could be a situation when the elderly would need hospitalization. There’s already a shortage of beds in hospitals across the United States, which again is one of the major challenges.
According to home care agencies, caregivers are already in a panic regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and they are hesitating in delivering care. If a law is passed that supports paid leaves, it could be hazardous for elderly individuals.
Will there be an Aid for the Home Care Industry?
As the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting diverse industries including airlines and hospitality, home care isn’t untouched with its impact. The government must provide suitable aid to the industry so that small organizations could survive in the market.
According to home care experts, the law would be quite benefiting for some organizations while other small and medium-sized businesses won’t be getting profited.
As per the guidance received from the State Department of Labor and Industry, any employee affected by a company or business closure, reduction in working hours, or a medical quarantine guided by the government could file for unemployment compensation.
The compensation benefits could be filed if no other compensations like the paid leave are available to them. This is one benefit that the employees that are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak can avail to ensure they don’t face any monetary issues.
Spouses and Legal Guardians can serve as Paid Direct Caregivers
The CHS waiver is temporarily altered as per the DHC’s announcement. This would accommodate all the issues that seniors are currently facing due to the unavailability of staff members and services during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Spouses and legal guardians can serve as paid direct caregivers whenever the assigned workers are not available due to pandemic. This waiver is applicable for clients under the “Agency Model” and “Consumer-Directed Model”.
This depicts that elderly adults could get benefited in terms of receiving care from their family members who would be paid by the federal government as per the new waiver. The waiver implies to those who are already getting benefited from Medicaid services and have hired professional home care agency for personal care services.
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