Retention Payments Frequently Asked Questions

July 25, 2022
Posted in Union Updates

Q: What are retention payments?
A: Retention payments were achieved through Senate Bill 184 by SEIU California and the help of our affiliates. The purpose of the retention payments are 1) to recognize the hard work by California health workers in 24 hour care facilities and 2) to advance California’s effort to promote stability and retention in California’s health care workforce.

Q: Do I qualify to receive a retention payment?
A: All workers, excluding managers and supervisors, in acute care hospital, psychiatric hospital, skilled nursing facilities, and health clinics are eligible to receive a retention payment. 

To qualify, the nursing home worker must be considered a full-time or part-time employee by a covered entity or covered service employer during July 30, 2022, through October 28, 2022 and must be in the list submitted by their employer to DHCS. These payments are intended to help nursing homes retain their employees. DHCS must submit their list of eligible employees no later than December 12, 2022.

Q: What are the qualifications for a full-time worker?
A: To qualify as a full-time worker, the employee must be paid a minimum of 400 in-person hours during the qualifying period; or is consider to be a full-time employee by their employer.

Q: What are the qualifications of a part-time worker?
A: To qualify as a part-time worker, the employee must be paid a minimum of 100 in-person hours (but less than 400) during the qualifying period.

Q: What is a covered service employee?
A: A covered service worker provides onsite services such as but not limited to clerical, dietary, housekeeping, and laundry through a contract with a qualifying facility. 

Q: What is the qualifying period?
A: The qualifying period will be determined by DHCS.

Q: I did not work during the entire qualifying period. Do I still qualify?
A: If the worker does not work the entire portion of the qualifying period or was on leave during the entire qualifying period, but meets the qualifications for a full or part time employee AND remains an employee for 45 days after the qualifying period ends or a date otherwise determined by DHCS, the worker will qualify for a retention payment. 

Q: How much is the retention payment?
A: In total, a full-time employee may receive a retention payment up to $2,000 ($1,000 base payment + $500 matching employer contribution + $500 state matching payment), and a part-time employee may receive a retention payment up to $1750 ($750 base payment + $500 employer matching contribution + $500 state matching payment). 

The retention payment is composed of three parts: The base payment—paid by the state, the employer’s matching contribution, and the state’s matching contribution. However, the state’s matching payment is contingent upon the employer’s matching contribution. 

The state will provide a base payment up to $1000 for a full-time employee and $750 for a part-time employee. In addition to the base payment, the state will match up to $500 of the employer’s “matching contribution” paid to the employee on or after December 1, 2021, or will be paid on or before December, 31, 2022. 

Q: What qualifies as a matching contribution from the employer?
A: To qualify as a “matching contribution,” the employer must provide a monetary compensation other than salaries, wages, and overtime paid to an eligible full-time or pat-time employee that was paid on or after December 1, 2021, or will be paid on or before December, 31, 2022, and meets any of the following criteria:

  1. The compensation was or is paid as hazard or bonus pay as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  2. The compensation was or is paid as a bonus based on performance or financial targets or a payout resulting from performance sharing programs designed to provide employees with a share in performance gains. 
  3. The compensation was or is paid in response to operational needs of the covered entity or covered services employer, including, but not limited to, staffing shortages or recruitment needs.

Q: What if my employer’s matching contribution is less than $500?
A: The state will pay the base payment plus a matching payment equal to the employer’s contribution. For example, if the employer’s contribution was $100, then the state will pay the base payment plus a matching $100. 

Q: What if my employer does not provide a matching contribution?
A: If the employer does not provide a matching retention payment, as defined, then the state will provide the base payment but no matching payment. 

Q: When will I receive my retention payment?
A: Workers will likely receive their retention payments in the Spring of 2023. After the department completes its application review, it will distribute payments to employers likely between January and March, 2023. The employers have 60 days upon receipt of the payment to remit payments to its employees.

Q: How does my employer apply for the retention payment?
A: Employer has to submit to the Department of Health Care Services the following information for each eligible full-time employee, eligible part-time employee, or eligible covered services entity, by a date specified by the department:

  1. Name of the eligible employee
  2. The employee’s mailing address 
  3. The employer’s total matching contribution 
  4. Total number of hours the employee was compensated for during the qualifying period.

Additionally, a covered services employer has to submit a list of covered entities that the covered services employer contracts with for specified services staff.

Q: I work at more than one nursing facility, will I receive multiple retention payments?
A: It is not intended for an employee to receive retention payments from multiple employers. However, if the employee receives retention payments from multiple employers, they are not obligated to return the money unless otherwise directed by the state. 

Q: Are the retention payments taxable?
A: Yes.

Q: My employer did not pay me the full retention payment. What do I do?
A: The employee or a union representative may write to the employer and request a review of the employee’s eligibility status, retention payment amount, or the employer’s failure to make a retention payment. The employer will have 30 days to review the employee’s request, disclose to the employee the amount received from the department, and provide remedy to the issue.

  • If the dispute is $500 or less and no resolution within 30 days of review request: the employee may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner.
  • If the dispute is more than $500 and no resolution within 30 days of review request: the employee may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner or the employee may file a civil action in court to recover the deficiency.

Please refer any questions you have regarding retention payments to the MAC at 855-810-2015.