Mail mystery delayed pay to 40,000
U.S. Postal truck late delivering timecards of low-earning home-care workers.
SACRAMENTO — Thousands of home-care workers in Los Angeles County weren’t paid on time after a postal truck carrying their time sheets didn’t make its delivery for more than two weeks, officials said.
The workers are part of a state program that pays them to take care of low-income elderly and disabled Californians, often their relatives, to avoid nursinghome care that would cost taxpayers more.
Every two weeks, the workers submit paper time sheets to a processing center in Chico, but last month, 40,000 of them didn’t show up, said Michael Weston, a spokesman for the California Department of Social Services.
Richard Maher, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Serv- ice, said a tractor-trailer operated by a contractor left Los Angeles on May 18 and didn’t make its delivery until June 2. Officials are unsure where the truck was in the meantime, and the matter is under investigation.
“Everybody is trying to figure out what happened here,” said Maher, who expressed regret for the delay.
The state has begun processing the overdue paychecks, but 15,000 still are unaccounted for, Weston said.
The workers earn $9.65 an hour and often struggle to make ends meet even when paid on time, said Scott Mann, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, which represents the workers.
Workers are worried about how much longer they’ll need to wait for their wages.
“I’m hoping that the utilities will not start calling,” said Gail Weiland, a Mar Vista resident who takes care of a son with Down syndrome.