Kaiser to give 85,000 staff 'hero bonus'

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente will provide 85,000 healthcare workers with a "hero bonus" to recognize their efforts caring for more than 400,000 COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, the union representing the workers said Dec. 21.

The bonuses will go to nurses, respiratory therapists and environmental services employees, among other essential staff members. 

Kaiser will also extend COVID-19 paid leave benefits through March 31, 2021, for workers who contract the virus or are exposed, and maintain $200 weekly child care grants for employees through April 3, 2021, in light of the current virus surge. 

Kaiser reached a deal on the bonuses and extended benefits with Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, which represents workers in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Washington state. The union had been calling for the hero bonuses since late September.

Despite a challenging year, Kaiser is still on track to meet most requirements for its annual performance incentive plans, which are in place for about 190,000 employees, according to Arlene Peasnall, Kaiser's senior vice president of human resources consulting, labor and employee relations.

"In recognition of our employees' performance in this incredibly challenging environment, and acknowledging that many face financial challenges caused by the pandemic, we have decided to close the remaining gap and fund all non-executive incentive plans and bonus programs at 100 percent of target this year," Ms. Peasnall said in a statement to Becker's. "For non-executive employees who don’t participate in one of these programs, we will offer a special one-time award."

Editor's note: This article was updated Dec. 22 at 4:30 p.m. CST to include additional information from Kaiser Permanente. 

More articles on compensation:
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