September 14, 2022

By: Latiqua M. Liles, Esq.

Can Money Buy Happiness? New York Seeks to Retain Health Care Workers Through its New Bonus Initiative

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Last month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus (HWB) Program, an initiative to increase New York’s health care workforce by 20% over the next five years. The Program seeks to recruit, retain, and reward health care and mental hygiene workers through issuing bonuses to qualifying workers who remain in their position for at least six months.

Eligible employers include those who participate in Medicaid, including certain institutions licensed under the Public Health Law, Mental Hygiene Law, and Education Law. Eligible employers also include those funded by the Office of Mental Health (OMH), Office for the Aging (OFA), Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), and the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).

Eligible employees must:

  1. Provide hands-on health care services;
  2. Receive an annualized base salary of $125,000 or less; and
  3. Have not been suspended or excluded from the Medicaid program

For a full list of eligible worker titles, please click here.

Employees will be compensated based on specific “vesting periods,” defined as hours worked during a consecutive six-month period between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024. Specifically, employees who work 20 to 30 hours per week are eligible for a $500 bonus; employees who work 30 to 35 hours per week are eligible for a $1,000 bonus; and employees who work at least 35 hours per week are eligible for $1500. For purposes of calculating an employee’s average weekly hours, an employee’s use of accruals and other leave shall be credited toward and considered hours worked. Remote employees, who serve patient-facing roles are also eligible for the bonus, so long as they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Qualified employers must enroll each eligible employee by electronic signing an attestation form, verifying the employee’s eligibility. A copy of the attestation form is available on the HWB Portal. Each eligible employee must also sign and submit to their employer an attestation form, confirming their income information. Employees can access that form here and instructions for completing that form here. Employers must collect employee attestations prior to submitting a bonus claim for the employee. Claims for bonus payments must be submitted within 30 days after the completion of each vesting period, in accordance with the Vesting Schedule, and must be paid out to the employee within 30 days of the employer’s receipt of payment on a claim for each qualified employee.

For questions regarding New York’s Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus Program, please contact our Employment Group here.

Tags: Genova Burns LLCLatiqua M. LilesEmployment Law & LitigationNew YorkMental HealthHealth CareEducation Law

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