BREAKING NEWS! Providers Win Protections in Newly Signed Law
Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
As a result of the continued hard work done by union providers like you in contacting the Governor and in meeting with state legislators, significant progress has been made on the concerns we have raised regarding the operation of our early education programs and the safety of the children in our care and ourselves during this pandemic.
Late Friday evening, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 820 which will give us more paid closure days due to COVID-19, waives some family fees, and addresses parent signatures when families are staying home. Despite the state only recognizing Child Care Providers United (CCPU) less than two months ago, we are already seeing the fruits of our worker power. This new law helps keep our childcare facilities stay open during one of the biggest hardships we’ll face in our lifetime. This is exactly why we need to continue to stand together because when we fight together, we win.
While this is a step in the right direction, there is more support we need from the state to safely operate our childcare centers and be available to provide early care and education for all who desperately need it. Click here to tell us how you’re juggling, health, financial and other challenges & to make a call to the Governor urging him to take swift action in protecting the youth in our care.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM NEW LAW PASSED:
SB 820 includes 14 paid non-operation days for COVID-related issues, in addition to current non-operation days from September 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Although this is a step in the right direction, we will continue to demand sufficient paid time that reflects the true recovery time from COVID and other factors associated with COVID like taking time off to schedule appointments for testing and the reality that many providers must close down their facilities more than once.
California Department of Education (CDE) waived family fees for the months of July and August. With SB 820 now signed and executed, it waives family fees for parents not taking their children into care, meaning those families who were unable to pay fees will continue to be eligible for services and providers will receive payments. Unfortunately, beginning in October, if Congress doesn’t pass additional funding, providers and contractors will have to absorb the costs of this fee waiver for families sheltering in place. We believe this is unacceptable, particularly as the state has billions in unspent federal aid for child care and education, and we will continue to fight this.
SB 820 requires providers to continue to receive reimbursement if the parent/guardian is unable to sign monthly attendance records due to the pandemic. The childcare provider can now submit the attendance record without a signature as long as they include documentation of attempts to reach the parent. We have been working closely with CDE to make the process for documenting attempts as simple as possible.
While this issue was not covered in SB 820, it’s still a victory due to our collective and persistent efforts to urge state leaders to prioritize family child care providers’ access to testing. As a result, the Department of Social Services will provide guidance to local governments allowing family child care providers who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to access Tier 2 priority testing.
WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED. The power of childcare providers uniting around issues like COVID is sending a message to the state that we are a force to be reckoned with! These are victories that our union should be proud of, but we know more is needed.
We’re happy to announce that we are scheduling regular meetings with the state to address various challenges that stem from COVID. Now more than ever, we must continue to speak up and flex our new rights as a union to demand immediate action from our state leaders.
Hundreds of providers have taken action and filled out a survey on how COVID impacts their care. Join us in urging Governor Newsom to work with us to find immediate solutions to keep California kids safe and learning.
This is just the beginning of our journey to more victories but together, united, we’ll never be ignored again.
Child Care Provider, Alameda County