An Important Win on Mandatory Bonus Pay in California

An Important Win on Mandatory Bonus Pay in California
June 4, 2021

Story originally appeared on the California Hospital Association website

California Hospital Association CEO Message

Today, a troubling legislative proposal that the California Hospital Association (CHA) has been fighting hard since it was introduced earlier this year—a bill that would mandate some $6 billion in COVID-19 bonus pay for health care workers — was officially tabled until 2022 at the earliest.

Despite amendments that narrowed the scope of the bill (AB 650-Muratsuchi, D-Torrance), legislators heard your voices about the challenges facing hospitals on the heels of COVID-19, with revenue losses for California hospitals of more than $14 billion in 2020 and between $600 million and $2 billion in 2021.

My personal thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contact legislators during the past several months on this issue. Your voices, in chorus, sharing your values and your challenges, were key to securing this important win for healthcare for Californians.

This statewide proposal was not the only mandatory pay effort underway. In Culver City, the five-member council is set to vote in mid-June on an ordinance that would require the city’s only hospital to pay an additional $2 million in premium compensation for work during the pandemic. And supporters of the state bill have already stated they will continue their efforts in the budget process. (Read Southern California Hospital at Culver City’s response.)

Neither proposal adequately recognizes all the support hospitals have provided to their teams during the pandemic—things like childcare, housing, bonus pay, and more.

CHA is working hand in hand with the Hospital Association of Southern California and Southern California Hospital at Culver City to fight this proposed ordinance, because any precedent that allows a governmental body to dictate compensation for a public or private entity is of great concern. And when you consider that hospitals have not had even a split second to begin what will be a long road to recovery from the pandemic, they simply can’t absorb any more burdens.

On the state bill, on the Culver City ordinance, and everywhere else, your associations are here with you, because we know, deep down, that we can’t exhale until you can exhale, and that means protecting your ability to care with every ounce of strength and resource at our disposal.