The Governor is getting our message that the extraordinary healthcare worker staffing crisis we’re living through requires immediate attention: proposing a $933 million dollar package to give up to $1,500 bonuses to healthcare workers!
This announcement marks an important step in California’s effort to shore up the healthcare workforce.
Now we need:
- Legislators to adopt the Governor’s proposal and pass it into their budget bill.
- Employers to offer bonuses to allow for workers to get the full state match (Kaiser has already done this with the PSP bonus).
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 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. We will update with additional details on the bonus once they become available.