After the release of our “Crisis in Care” report on short-staffing in California healthcare, Governor Newsom proposed $933 million for healthcare worker bonuses back in May.
Now the legislature has voted to approve a total of $1.1 billion dollars in funding for the Staffing Stabilization bonus, and Governor Newsom has signed it into law!
This marks an important step in California’s effort to shore up the healthcare workforce. Now we need healthcare employers to offer bonuses to allow for workers to get the full state match (Kaiser has already done this with the PSP bonus).
You can get the exact details on the bonus law here.
This will be a one-time payment of up to $1,500 for workers at hospitals, nursing homes/SNFs, and medical groups that are affiliated with a hospital system (like Kaiser Permanente and the Dignity Health Foundation). We expect the payments to reach workers sometime in January/February 2023.
Full-time workers will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000. Full-time is defined as anyone who is either designated a full-time employee working onsite or who was paid for at least 400 in-person hours between July 29 and October 28, 2022.
Part-time workers will receive a one-time bonus of $750. Part-time is defined as someone who is not designated a full-time employee and who was paid for between 100 and 400 in-person hours between July 29 and October 28, 2022.
There will also be a possibility of an additional $500 in bonus funds per worker, based on the state matching an employer-provided bonus. The details of this additional matching bonus money are still being determined by the state. We will share them when they are available.
Approximately 30 days after the budget is signed by the Governor, there will be a 91-day “qualifying work period” that will determine if an employee works enough hours to qualify for part-time or full-time. This qualifying work period will be between July 29 and October 28, 2022.
Employers will submit that data to the state, and the state will send each employer the money to pay the bonuses to their employees. The exact timing depends on when the budget gets signed and how quickly the state moves to implement it, but bonuses are likely to be paid to workers sometime next year (January/February).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, SEIU-UHW members have been leading the fight to ensure workers are protected, recognized, and retained, starting with our campaign to get adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) as the pandemic hit our healthcare system. When Governor Newsom signed SB 275, the first law in the nation to require a PPE stockpile, we shifted the fight to a recognition and retention bonus for healthcare workers.
Our employers, big healthcare corporations who made record profits during the pandemic, refused to value caregivers, but we did not stop. Dave Regan, our SEIU-UHW President, continued reaching out to Governor Newsom to insist our state provide a meaningful incentive that would help keep experienced healthcare workers in the industry.
Since before 2020, SEIU-UHW members have been raising concerns about chronic short-staffing in California’s healthcare industry which has only worsened as workers have left over the past two years because of increased health risks, emotional and mental stress, and overwork. In fact, 83% of the 33,000 SEIU-UHW healthcare workers surveyed this March said that their departments are understaffed, and 74% said they lack proper time to care for patients. Other recent surveys of healthcare workers show nearly 20% have considered leaving the field in the past year.
California’s healthcare workers appreciate Governor Newsom and state legislators for listening to our calls throughout this crisis. This bonus will help to retain skilled and experienced caregivers to begin addressing the critical staffing shortage in our healthcare facilities.