Workplace Personal Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification to a job or workplace that lets you do the essential duties of your job successfully. The reasonable accommodation does not change the essential job functions but is related to them.

Workplace reasonable accommodation examples:

  • An employee who is blind can request a computer screen reader.
  • An employee with a mental health condition can request a flexible work schedule and can request to schedule time away from work for medical reasons.
Learn more about your rights and reasonable accommodations

No, you do not have to tell your employer about a disabling condition unless you are asking for a reasonable accommodation. Even then, employers can only ask for documentation that shows you have a disability that causes you to need a reasonable accommodation. This means that in most situations your employer cannot ask for your entire medical record.

No, not all employers have to offer reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodation protections from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cover employers with 15 or more employees. California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) covers employers with 5 or more employees. Employers with fewer than 5 employees do not have to comply with reasonable accommodation rules.

In general, personal assistance services allow a person with a disability to live and work in the community. Personal assistance services can include:

  • Attendant services, where somebody helps with dressing, eating and other personal care tasks
  • Help commuting to and from work, such as driving a car or accompanying you on a bus
  • Reader services, where somebody reads documents to someone who cannot read easily, or
  • Help with business travel, such as flying with you to a conference and helping with luggage.

Workplace personal assistance services can be used to help you do the essential duties of the job. In general, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employer must supply personal assistance services if those services are job-related and not primarily for the personal benefit of the employee.

Personal assistance services may be:

  • Supplied by an employer as a reasonable accommodation under certain circumstances
  • Supplied by Medi-Cal through the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, or
  • Paid for using your own resources.
Other ways to pay for workplace personal assistance without IHSS

If you do not get IHSS or do not want to use your IHSS hours at work, other agencies or programs may also help you pay for workplace personal assistance, including the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), the Veterans Administration (VA), workers' compensation coverage, or other programs. To explore which other programs may be available, contact a benefits planner.

Yes. You can transfer IHSS hours to your workplace, but this does not increase your total number of IHSS hours. The maximum number of hours you can get remains at 283 hours per month.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) rules let someone accompany you to medical appointments and other approved sites. They do not allow for travel to and from your work.

You can use your In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) hours for any activity that helps you get or keep work. This includes assistance with:

  • Interviewing for a job
  • Training that is required by the employer
  • Preparation of meals
  • Personal care services, and
  • Paramedical services, like wound care, giving medications, or suctioning a ventilator.

Types of services that cannot be transferred to the workplace include:

  • Yard cleanup
  • Laundry assistance, and
  • Cleaning assistance.

If you already have IHSS hours approved for yard cleanup, laundry and cleaning assistance, you will not be allowed to transfer these hours to the workplace.

No. Workplace personal assistance does not replace any reasonable accommodations your employer must provide under the law.

To use some of your In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) hours at your work:

  1. Contact your IHSS eligibility worker to let them know you are interested in transferring your hours to your workplace.
  2. Specify the number of hours that you want to transfer to your work and what services those hours will be used for.
  3. The county must then approve the use of IHSS hours at work before you can start using them there.
  4. Your IHSS eligibility worker lets you know if you can use some of your IHSS hours at work.

Learn more