Temple University Health System is paying thousands of clinical workers an extra $1,500 as a thank you for their work during the pandemic, Temple officials said.
“Our employees are the ones who stepped up, and they continue to step up today,” health system chief executive Mike Young said. “We wanted to thank them by providing additional compensation.”
The payments will go to 6,500 to 7,000 Temple employees, about two-thirds of the system’s workforce, including those who moved from offices into clinical settings during the pandemic, Young said. The total cost is about $10 million.
The announcement came several weeks after Temple employees rallied to demand hazard pay for working during the pandemic. Temple officials said the payments were in the works before the rally.
Thanks to $90 million in federal CARES Act aid and solid financial results before the pandemic, Temple did better than break even in the fiscal year that ended June 30, making the payments possible, Young said.
Other Philadelphia-area health systems also received federal coronavirus aid, but still had to resort to layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts. Those included Tower Health, Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic, and Einstein Healthcare Network. Even the wealthy Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said last month that it may institute furloughs to compensate for lost revenue from surgeries that were canceled during the height of the pandemic.
At least one other Philadelphia-area health system made appreciation payments to employees. Main Line Health paid a total of $10 million in pandemic bonuses to staff at the end of July, with the individual amounts dependent on the job and the number of hours worked, a spokesperson said.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System has not paid pandemic bonuses, but accelerated up to $1,000 of this year’s “Success Share” incentive payments, a spokesperson said. Those payments reward employees for their contributions to common health system goals.
Jefferson Health and Virtua did not respond to questions about their pandemic bonuses.
Temple’s payments, announced in a letter to employees dated last Friday and expected to happen over the next three weeks, will not go to employed physicians, but medical residents are included.
Jerry Silberman, a senior staff representative for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, which has a large presence at Temple, said it still wasn’t clear to the union who would get the bonuses. The union also has questions about how much discretionary aid Temple received from Pennsylvania and how that money is being used.