Healthcare Employees Recruitment and Retention Pilot Program
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Sam Wilkins, Director
South Carolina Office
of Human Resources
8301 Parklane Road
Suite A220
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 896-5300

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S
FRAUD HOTLINE

(State Agency fraud only)

1-855-SCFRAUD
or
1-855-723-7283

Healthcare Pilot Reporting

To assist State agencies in recruiting and retaining healthcare workers, seven
agencies are participating in a pilot program to encourage the recruitment and
retention of healthcare employees. These agencies are: Department of Corrections, Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Mental Health, and Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The agencies will receive no special funding for this pilot; instead, agencies deciding to use the flexibilities of the pilot program must use funds from their existing budgets. The pilot program applies to employees in FTE positions in the critical needs healthcare classification titles listed in Appendix A.

The agency head may request the inclusion of additional healthcare classifications from the Human Resources Division (HRD). The pilot program consists of compensation and education initiatives for agencies to use to aid in recruiting and retaining healthcare workers. Agencies are required to report annually on their use of the initiatives.

Compensation Initiatives

Bonus Guideline Extension
Agencies may offer bonuses of up to $5,000 and increase the frequency to more
than once per year for specified critical needs healthcare jobs. Agencies must
be using these bonuses to aid in recruiting and retaining healthcare workers.
Employees may not receive an accumulation of more than $10,000 in bonuses per year. Critical needs jobs could include jobs located in rural areas, areas with
high turnover, or areas where the agency has experienced recruiting
difficulties. The specific ways in which bonuses may be awarded are as
follows:

  • Sign-on Bonus
    Agencies may give sign-on bonuses up to $3,000 to healthcare recruits at the
    beginning of their employment with the agency. These recruits cannot include
    employees moving from other agencies by transfer, promotion, or demotion.
    Sign-on bonuses are limited to one per year. At the agency's discretion, a
    sign-on bonus may be divided to pay new employees a portion after one month of employment in the position and the remainder of the bonus after one year of
    successful employment in the position.

  • Referral Bonus
    Agencies may give a referral bonus of up to $2,000 to current employees for
    referring a successful candidate for a critical needs or hard-to-fill
    healthcare position after a minimum of one month of employment in the position. Referred candidates cannot include employees moving from other agencies by
    transfer, promotion, or demotion. In addition, referred candidates cannot be
    current employees of the hiring agency in any capacity, to include temporary,
    temporary grant, research grant, time-limited project or contract employees.

  • Retention Bonus
    Agencies may give a retention bonus of up to $5,000 to a current employee in a
    critical needs or hard-to-fill healthcare position as an incentive to retain
    the employee. The employee must be in receipt of a bona fide job offer from
    another employer, either within or outside of State government. Employees are
    limited to one retention bonus per year, which may be paid in a lump-sum or in
    separate installments. An employee with a bona fide job offer who receives a
    base salary increase for retention is not eligible to receive a retention
    bonus. An employee may not receive a retention bonus while in probationary or
    trial status.

  • Education Initiatives

    Leave for Class
    Agencies may provide paid educational leave for any employees in FTE positions
    to attend class while enrolled in healthcare degree programs that are related
    to the agency's mission. A list of healthcare degree programs that may be
    included in this initiative is attached in Appendix C. All such leave is at the
    agency head's discretion to determine if the healthcare degree program is
    related to the agency's mission. The agency head may request the approval for
    inclusion of additional healthcare degree programs from OHR. Employees
    receiving leave for class are limited to such leave associated with no more
    than ten credit hours per semester. This leave may be used when a class
    cannot be scheduled after work hours and the agency cannot rearrange the
    employee's work schedule. A service commitment will be required between
    the employee and the agency. The service commitment will require the
    participant to work two years with the agency for every one full academic
    year in which leave for class is received. If the employee separates
    before the completion of the service agreement, the employee would
    be expected to repay the agency on a pro-rata basis.

    Paid Practicum
    State agencies may allow employees to be paid while working on a practicum or
    required clinical experience towards completion of a healthcare degree. A list
    of healthcare degree programs that may be included in this initiative is
    attached in Appendix C. The agency head may request the approval for inclusion of additional healthcare degree programs from OHR. State agencies may permit field placements at other state agencies to be considered work time for participating employees.

    Loan Repayment
    State agencies may enter into an agreement with Psychiatrists and Nurses
    newly employed in those positions to repay them for their outstanding student l
    oans associated with completion of a healthcare degree. The employee must be
    employed in a critical needs area, which would be identified at the agency
    head's discretion. Critical needs areas could include rural areas, areas with
    high turnover, or where the agency has experienced recruiting difficulties.
    Agencies may pay these employees up to 20% or $7,500, whichever is less, of
    their outstanding student loan each year over a five-year period. Payments will
    be made directly to the employee at the end of each year of employment. The
    agency will be responsible for verifying the principle balance of the
    employee's student loan prior to issuing payments.

    Tuition Assistance
    The Tuition Assistance Guidelines, previously approved by the Budget and Control Board, are expanded to:

    1. Increase tuition reimbursement from a maximum of six credit hours to 10
    credit hours per semester;

    2. Allow probationary employees to participate in tuition programs (waive the six-month waiting period); and

    3. Provide tuition pre-payment instead of tuition reimbursement for employees
    willing to pursue a degree in a healthcare program. An agency may pay up to
    50% of an employee's tuition through tuition pre-payment. The remaining tuition
    could be reimbursed to the employee after successful completion of the class.

    All other requirements in the Tuition Assistance Guidelines will apply. This
    assistance will be at the agency head's discretion. A list of healthcare
    related degree programs that may be included in this initiative is attached in
    Appendix C. The agency head may request the inclusion of additional healthcare degree programs from OHR. An agreement will be required between the employee and the agency. If the employee fails to successfully complete the class, the employee will be required to repay the agency.