The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a resolution increasing the hourly wage for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers by 10 percent from $11.50 to $12.65 and expanding the number receiving transportation assistance.
County officials said they were glad Service Employees International Union (SEIU) accepted their last, best and final offer.
"The County of San Mateo values its IHSS workers. We believe that this 10 percent increase is a fair offer and we are pleased that the membership of Independent Providers has accepted it," said Supervisor Carole Groom, president of the Board of Supervisors.
The 10 percent increase for the term of July 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2015 must still be approved by the state. If so, the increase will likely take effect April 1, the first month following the 60-day processing period.
County Manager John Maltbie said the agreement is fair to the IHSS workers who provide a valuable service to a vulnerable population of seniors and the disabled and also to county taxpayers.
The total annual net county cost of the wage increase is $2.92 million. Assuming state approval effective April 2015, the anticipated net county cost of the changes will be approximately $2.2 million for the remaining term of the Memorandum of Understanding.
The current MOU expired June 30, 2014. The Public Authority made its last, best and final offer Nov. 12, 2014, and concluded negotiations with SEIU Dec. 17, 2014. IHSS membership ratified the final offer on Monday which the supervisors, acting as the Governing Board of the In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority, followed with its Tuesday vote.
Future labor negotiations are expected to revert to the state which is responsible for 33 percent of IHSS wages. Federal contracts cover 50 percent of the funding and San Mateo County pays 17 percent. The county also maintains the list of workers from which clients hire and authorizes the number of hours a provider can work for a client.
The complicated nature of the program contributed to the long and at times contentious process to reach an agreement, Maltbie said.
“With the passage of SB 1036, the state will assume responsibility for labor negotiations in the future which should help to eliminate some of the issues experienced in negotiations this year,” Maltbie said.