What Employees and Employers Should Know About Healthcare Worker Bonuses

A NYS Healthcare worker bonus was part of the money allocated for the 2023 state budget. In fact, New York State allocated $1.2 billion in bonuses for frontline healthcare workers.

The bonus has a twofold purpose:

  • To compensate for the work healthcare workers provided during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • To encourage healthcare employee retention and hiring

What is the employer’s responsibility regarding the NYS healthcare worker bonus?

Qualified employers participating in the program have a September 2, 2022 deadline to submit bonus payment claims for their qualified employees.

Once NYS pays the employer the employee’s funds, employers have 30 days to pay the employee.

Who qualifies as employers?

Employers are qualified providers if they have a minimum of one employee and if they provide billable services under the New York Medicaid program. This would include:

  • Licensed facilities
  • Pharmacies
  • School-based health centers licensed under NYS Public Health Law, Mental Hygiene Law, Education Law and other programs funded by the Office of Mental Health, Office of Aging, Office of Addiction Services and Support, and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

An employer qualifies even if only 20% of their patients are Medicaid beneficiaries.

What are the requirements for health workers to qualify for the bonus?

Bonuses are connected to specific vesting periods. A vesting period is a six-month period between October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2024. The first vesting period pays employees with continuous employment from October 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The application deadline for this vesting period is September 2, 2022.

Employees can only participate in the program for two vesting periods. In addition, the maximum bonus they can receive is $3,000.

Employees’ criteria include:

  • Continual employment by the qualified employer for at least one vesting period
  • A title that appears on a list of eligible employee titles
  • An annual base salary that does not exceed $125,000
  • Designation as a full-time, part-time or temporary employee or contractor
  • No suspension or exclusion from Medicaid during the vesting period

The qualified title includes workers who provide direct face-to-face patient care:

  • Direct clinical care from nurses, medical assistants and other licensed staff
  • Administrative staff who come in direct contact with patien

The NYS Department of Health website contains a complete list of titles.

Do you need assistance protecting your rights to receive a NYS health care bonus?

The Law Office of Peter A. Romero assists clients with employment law and discrimination issues. Clients throughout NYC, including in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem/Upper Manhattan turn to us for legal help. Call us at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.