L.A. County To Resume Payroll Deductions for About 600 Area Nurses
Next month, payroll deductions totaling $1.8 million will resume for about 600 nurses in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In 2005, the county began paying nurses a 4% "manpower shortage" bonus to help address county hospital staffing gaps. The bonuses continued through 2008.
In 2010, county officials sent letters to the nurses saying that the bonus payments should have stopped in 2006, but continued for two more years because of a "communications breakdown." The county began deducting the payments from 2007 and 2008 from nurses' paychecks.
The Service Employees International Union Local 721 won an injunction in L.A. County Superior Court that halted the deductions. However, an arbitrator later ruled that the county was entitled to the money.
County Official Comments
Elizabeth Jacobi -- director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health -- acknowledged that the county made an error but said that the agency must recover the money.
She said, "These are public funds," adding "This isn't money they should have received."
Katarina del Valle Thompson -- a registered nurse who represents other nurses for SEIU -- said that repaying the bonuses would be a personal and financial burden for the nurses.She added that the nurses deserved the bonuses because staffing shortages continued beyond 2006 (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 3/18). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.