This month will be very busy, both in Washington DC and Sacramento!
AARP is pleased to endorse the bipartisan POWADA – Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Action – HR 2062 / S 880 cosponsored by Senators Grassley (R-IA), Leahy (D-VT) and Collins (D- PA):
The bill would recognize once again the legitimacy of so-called “mixed-motive” claims in which discrimination is a, if not the, deciding, factor. It would also reaffirm that workers may use any type of admissible evidence to prove their claims. It’s time to (re-)level the playing field. A survey conducted by AARP in 2018 found that more than three in five workers ages 45 and above reported seeing or experiencing age discrimination in the workplace. The survey also found that three quarters of these workers cited age discrimination as a reason for their lack of confidence in being able to find a new job. Age discrimination is a key reason why many older Americans have trouble finding work after a period of unemployment and struggle to return to the workforce. Age discrimination is unacceptable, and victims of age discrimination should have equal access to the courts. This bill would be a crucial step to strengthen the law and restore fairness for older workers who experience age discrimination. Age discrimination in the workplace remains stubbornly persistent and the pandemic has exacerbated the problems faced by older workers. The number of age-55-and-over unemployed has doubled since the pandemic started in February 2020.
We need to call our Member of Congress and our two Senators and ask them to support the Protecting Older Workers Against Age Discrimination Act (POWADA).
AB 995 – Paid Sick Leave – Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego):
There are 4.7 million family caregivers in California. About 60% of family caregivers also work while providing care to a loved one. AB 995 would expand sick leave from three to five days and guarantee no fewer than five days of paid sick leave without wage loss or retaliation. This measure would allow family caregivers to take paid time off to care for a loved one who is recovering from an illness, as well as for the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition, preventative care, or if time off is needed to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It is critical for all California employees to have sick leave to cover their wages when they are ill and cannot work or need to care for children or a family member. Without this guarantee, California workers are incentivized to work while sick, resulting in decreased employee productivity and increased spread of infectious diseases. Urge your Assembly Member to Support AB 995 Paid Sick Leave.
SB 650 – Nursing Homes Transparency – Senator Henry Stern (D):
SB 650 will create more accountability for California’s 1,227 nursing home operators through new reporting and auditing requirements. This bill will help the public better understand how nursing homes are owned and operated, and how money received from Medi-Cal, Medicare, and private care patients is being spent. SB 650 is needed in order to bring real reform to the nursing home industry in California. This bill will require nursing home organizations to prepare an annual consolidated financial report that includes data from all operating entities and related parties in which the parent entity has an ownership, or control, interest of 5% or more that provides any service, facility, or supply to the skilled nursing facility. Please urge your State Senator to support this bill.
State Budget: AARP California State Budget Priorities: FY 21/22:
Master Plan for Aging:
· Establish the position of Senior Advisor on Aging, Disability, and Alzheimer’s to advance cross-cabinet initiatives and partnerships.
· Allocate $5 million for Master Plan for Aging implementation.
Long-Term Services and Supports:
· Allocate $12.5 million to 2021/22 & the first half of 2022/23 to expand Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs).
· Allocate $250 million in one-time funds to purchase and rehabilitate Adult Residential and Care Facilities for the Elderly to increase housing options for older adults and persons with disabilities.
· Allocate $26 million over three years to fund Caregiver Resource Centers (CRC).
· Permanently reverse the 7% hours cut in In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), supporting Family Caregivers at Work and at Home.
· Enact an emergency paid sick leave benefit for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allocate $15.6 million from the general fund for extension of Medi-Cal benefits, including audiology and speech therapy, incontinence creams and washes, optician/optical lab services, and podiatric services.
· Allocate $25 million from the general fund in the current year and $100 million per year on an ongoing basis for both long-term case management and lowering the age of adults served to 60, as well as expanding Home Safe and making it a permanent program.
Food Security for Low-Income Older Adults:
· Allocate $5.4 million to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and $5 million to launch new Farm Fresh to Seniors Program.
· Fund a one-time, $1 million investment for California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to design and integrate a user-centered, simplified CalFresh application for older adults and people with disabilities, to increase enrollment.
Housing Stability and Equity:
· Allocate $1 billion of this year’s $26 billion budget windfall to respond to the housing crisis, including one-time funds to purchase permanent housing for the growing number of unhoused Californians.
Please ask your Assembly Member and State Senator to support these budget items. The Budget Committee will vote on budget items by the third week in May, so please make your calls to your state legislators as soon as you can.