When a pandemic like COVID-19 (also known as the “novel coronavirus”) appears in our communities, homecare and personal support workers are affected in an especially hard way. With this in mind, the Board of Trustees of your Oregon Homecare Workers Benefit Trust voted unanimously to provide a Hardship Paid Time Off benefit for workers impacted by COVID-19. You are eligible to receive up to 40 additional hours of hardship Paid Time Off benefits if:
- You missed work hours between March 10, 2020 and May 16, 2020 because your ability to perform eligible working hours — also known as bargaining unit hours — was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Reasons for missed work include school closures or concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 or exposing others to COVID-19; and
- You were eligible for PTO benefits on February 1, 2020 or you worked at least 40 eligible working hours in either January or February 2020.
How to Apply
Eligible homecare and personal support workers who are participants in the Benefit Trust and have lost hours because of COVID-19 can apply for the Hardship PTO Benefit in three steps:
2. Tell your Local Service Delivery Office (consumer’s case manager) to click here to complete the Hardship PTO Verification form. You can contact your consumer’s case manager directly, or use this form to send them an email asking them to fill out the Verification Form. This form must be submitted within 90 days of your payment being processed.
3. Submit your Form W-9.
Questions and Answers
How will I know if I was eligible for PTO benefits on February 1, 2020?
If you worked 80 or more eligible working hours of homecare or personal support work in October, November or December of 2019, you were probably eligible for PTO benefits on February 1, 2020. If you were eligible to receive regular PTO benefits on February 1, 2020, you should have received a packet from the Oregon Homecare Workers Benefit Trust that stated the number of PTO hours you were eligible to receive, and information about how to request a check for your PTO benefits. Note: you can also be eligible for Hardship PTO if you lost eligible working hours due to COVID-19 and worked 40 hours in either January or February 2020.
What does the Hardship Paid Time Off benefit pay for?
This special benefit was created to help Homecare and Personal Support Workers whose work hours have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a hardship benefit that can only be used by care providers who meet the criteria. If you lost work hours because of anything related to COVID-19 in your own or in your consumer’s life, you probably meet the eligibility requirement. For instance, you may qualify for this benefit if:
- A consumer told you to stay home because they were self-isolating due to COVID-19
- You missed work hours because you needed to stay home and take care of a dependent, child or parent who was impacted by COVID-19, including due to school and/or daycare closures.
- You missed work hours due to concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 or exposing others to COVID-19.
Can I use this benefit if I'm receiving other income—for example, from unemployment or from another job?
Can I use this benefit to help pay for lost hours for other reasons (for example, getting sick with something other than COVID-19)?
No. This benefit is only available to care providers who missed work because they (or their consumer) were impacted by COVID-19. Your regular PTO benefit may help cover lost work for other reasons.
When is this benefit available?
The Hardship Paid Time Off benefit is only available for lost hours from March 10, 2020 to May 16, 2020. There is a maximum pay-out of $3,000,000 from the Trust for this benefit. Once that limit is reached, the benefit will terminate, even if the eight-week period has not ended.
When will I get paid?
After you submit your request form and documentation, the Benefits Administrative Office will verify your loss of hours. Once your loss of hours is verified, the Benefits Administrative Office will send your payment either through a mailed check or via direct deposit. We expect the process will take up to three weeks from the time we get your complete request.
How will I get paid?
Once your claim has been approved, you will get your benefits the same way that you normally receive PTO pay: either via direct deposit, or with a mailed check. If you have not signed up for direct deposit, you can fill out the form linked below.
How much will I get paid?
The Hardship Paid Time Off benefit is calculated the same way your Paid Time Off is normally calculated. Your PTO benefits are determined based on your wages earned in the first month you became eligible — in this case, October, November, or December of 2019. For many care providers this was $14.65 per hour.
How do I get the verification form completed?
The verification form must be completed by your local office—it can’t be filled out by you or your consumer. You can use this form to ask your local office to complete the verification form, or you can contact them directly.
What if the local office won't complete the verification form?
The verification form must be completed by your local office (e.g., your consumer-employer’s case manager) within 90 days of your benefit being processed (that is, from the time your check is sent to you, either through the mail or direct deposit). If your consumer’s case manager does not complete the form, the Benefits Administrative Office will attempt to verify that you did experience a loss of eligible working hours relating to COVID-19. If the Benefits Administrative Office cannot verify a loss of such hours, you will be responsible for paying back any PTO hardship benefit that was paid out to you.