On August 3, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the opening of the $1.2 billion dollar Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus Program aimed at rewarding and retaining frontline healthcare and mental hygiene workers. Passed as part of the FY2023 New York State Budget in April 2022, this program requires that eligible health care providers (see “Qualified Employers” below) administer and pay a bonus to full-time, part-time, or independent contractor health care and mental hygiene practitioners, technicians, assistants, support staff, and aides who provide hands-on health or care services in New York State and earn less than $125,000 per year (see “Eligible Employees” below). Bonuses for employees will be determined by specific "vesting periods," or hours worked during a consecutive six-month period between October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2024. Qualified employees who work:
At least 20 hours but no more than 30 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $500.
At least 30 hours but no more than 35 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $1,000.
At least 35 hours per week are eligible for a bonus of $1,500.
A qualified employee can receive up to a maximum of $3,000 in total bonus payments over two vesting periods. Employees may not receive bonuses if they have ever been suspended or excluded from the Medicaid program and must be enrolled in the HWB program by their employer, who are mandated to award HWB funds no later than 30 days after a worker's eligibility for a bonus has vested. A vesting period is defined as a series of six-month periods between the dates October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2024. A vesting period must entail a consecutive six-month period. Employers will claim for all eligible employees whose 6-month vesting period ends within the defined vesting periods as outlined below