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  • Holiday Bonuses for Caregivers

    I want to give my caregivers some kind of gift or bonus for the holidays but I am not sure how to handle it. The last few years I have just given them all a small gift or a gift card as a year end thank you becase the agency they work for has always given out substantial cash bonuses in early December based on the number of hours worked in a year However, sign of the times I guess, and the agency sent out a memo saying there would be no bonuses this year. Which actually made me feel bad because I know that some of them were depending on the bonus due to husband's being laid off, kids starting college, etc.

    So I was wondering if it would be better this year to just give out a cash bonus? Does anybody else do that? If I go that route, I have no clue how much to give. I also don't want to create bad feelings among everybody but I can't trust them to keep the amount they recieve to themselves. And last year the gift card amounts caused a minor issue that had me considering just scrapping them altogether for everybody. But in light of the no bonus announcement coming only a few days before it was due to be paid out, morale is very low and frankly I think its in my best interest to give them something.

    But if I give cash do I give the same amount to those who are part-time as the full-timers? And how much shoould I give?

    I also have one overnight staff (she is full time) who is constantly late and blows off shifts all the time at the last minute. Yet when she bothers to come to work, she does far more work than everybody else and I actually like her as a person. But I can't depend on her at all. Do I give her the same as the person who always shows up on time but won't lift a finger beyond what is spelled out word for word in her official job description?

    Dealing with caregivers is the truly the bane of my existence some days.

  • #2
    Giving an amount based on hours worked sounds fair to me - and consistant with what the agency had done. Shouldn't be reasons for an issue with that.

    The other caretaker - hard one. The easiest is to just treat her the same as everyone else - based upon hours worked. Unless you don't want to give her as much?

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    • #3
      I would first check with the agency to be sure that their employees are allowed to accept cash gifts or gifts of any significant value from clients. That would NOT be allowed where I work.

      Since we private pay, we give each of my mother's PCAs a small gift plus a card with a cash amount equal to one day of work, and they also get paid for the holiday if that is when they would normally work (I take care of my mother on Christmas and Thanksgiving and give them the day with their family). I don't think you are under any obligation to give a bonus that is equal for all employees.

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      • #4
        I meant to post this in caregiving...can it be moved? Thanks.

        I can't really pay them out based on hours worked because given they work for an agency, they don't just work with me, especially the part-timers. I thought about the bonus being based just on the hours they worked with me. But after adding up the numbers, it wasn't really a fair reflection of things given I had been out of town for several extended periods of time.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
          I would first check with the agency to be sure that their employees are allowed to accept cash gifts or gifts of any significant value from clients. That would NOT be allowed where I work.

          Since we private pay, we give each of my mother's PCAs a small gift plus a card with a cash amount equal to one day of work, and they also get paid for the holiday if that is when they would normally work (I take care of my mother on Christmas and Thanksgiving and give them the day with their family). I don't think you are under any obligation to give a bonus that is equal for all employees.

          (KLD)
          I already checked. While the agency provides my caregiving staff and pays them based on the funding I recieve, I am involved in a government program that gives me extended control over things like hiring and firing and how to allocate my funded hours. I can pay a reasonable bonus out of my own pocket as long as it is documented.

          I agree it's a bit problematic to be giving a cash bonus and opens the door for potential abuse on both sides, which is why I want to make sure I give something fair but not excessive. And while I don't think everybody necessarily deserves the same amount, I don't want to use it as a carrot or a stick either. For the most part, despite some ongoing issues that never seem to change (like chronic lateness), I am very happy and appreciative of the care I recieve and just want to bonus to reflect that.

          I am getting better at dealing with this stuff, slowly. But maybe not really lol.
          Last edited by orangejello; 11-23-2009, 01:01 PM.

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          • #6
            Since you like the tardy employee, and she does such a good job when there, I would figure the two factors even out, and treat her the same as you decide to treat everyone.

            I think that since you just want to come out with some "formula" that can be thrown down to quiet discussion .... you want to hopefully find one that is so obvious that it doesn;t need to be presented. So keep it simple.

            Originally posted by orangejello View Post

            I can't really pay them out based on hours worked because given they work for an agency, they don't just work with me, especially the part-timers. I thought about the bonus being based just on the hours they worked with me. But after adding up the numbers, it wasn't really a fair reflection of things given I had been out of town for several extended periods of time.
            A bonus calculated on the hours they have worked for you this year would be the simplest, is the out of town an issue because some have traveled with you or because you didn;t need anyone while you were away?

            Perhaps just 2 levels, one for part time and one for full time? Would that work?
            Last edited by sjean423; 11-23-2009, 02:48 PM.
            T7-8 since Feb 2005

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sjean423 View Post
              Since you like the tardy employee, and she does such a good job when there, I would figure the two factors even out, and treat her the same as you decide to treat everyone.
              The keyword being "when" lol--she has blown off 4 of her past 10 shifts, including Friday when she gave me less than two hours to cover a nightshift. And its gotten to the point where it really is a surprise if she manages to show up on time for any shifts. I just now assume she isn't going to and try to schedule somebody else to overlap her for an hour. I do like her a lot
              but I wonder if rewarding her with a bonus might make the problem worse, you know what I mean? Although I think you are right that I am going to have to give her whatever I give the other full-timers.

              I think that since you just want to come out with some "formula" that can be thrown down to quiet discussion .... you want to hopefully find one that is so obvious that it doesn;t need to be presented. So keep it simple.



              A bonus calculated on the hours they have worked for you this year would be the simplest, is the out of town an issue because some have traveled with you or because you didn;t need anyone while you were away?

              Perhaps just 2 levels, one for part time and one for full time? Would that work?
              Yes because of the travelling I did, going on hours alone would unfairly penalize those who didn't work with me while I was away. I also already paid extra out of pocket for those who came along with me.

              I think you are right, just two set amounts for full-time and part time. And maybe a small gift card for those who work casual shifts, which are usually last minute replacements when somebody blows off a shift so they deserve something too. I am still stuck on an amount but I guess I will figure something out.

              Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate it.

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              • #8
                sounds like it can be a real debate and headbanging experience, giving them all a turkey or ham would be nice and they can eat it, and wouldn't have to worry about how much for each person
                We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
                Ronald Reagan

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                • #9
                  I am still stuck on an amount but I guess I will figure something out.
                  I think KLD has a good formula, one or two days salary depending on your hourly rate.

                  You could maybe also give a future gift for a paid day off on their birthday. This would stagger it out in terms of paying and if they don't last past their birthday's then you own nothing.
                  Every day I wake up is a good one

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                  • #10
                    I know well what you're saying OJ. I usually do gift certificates to Wal-Mart or similar place where everyone goes. The agency I use isn't big on allowing clients to give, or receive, much of a gift, so a maximum of $20 is the general top end gift.

                    Part-time and full-time difference is good. With the late employee, try attaching a note to the gift along the lines of "thanks for your work" or something relating to the extra she does when she comes. That way, it doesn't address the tardiness, but does give an idea you like what she does, when she does.

                    A note isn't bad for the others either, but an extra incentive for the one sometimes helps.
                    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I honestly do not see where you should have to step up to the plate and try to match what the agency did last year at all.

                      I would try to remember that old rule of "anything they get above what their regular pay is, is a gift and a blessing, and not something to be expected." Not trying to be harsh at all, but I am wondering if you did give them a day's pay this year, and then things change somehow by next year...would they expect the same thing next year? (I'm thinking what if the agency decides next year that they will be going back to the original plan and giving a big bonus...then what?)

                      Also, you have to remember that if these caregivers work for other people, then technically, you should not have to even toy with the idea of giving them anything except a fraction of what they got from the agency...know what I mean?

                      In other words, let's say they work for 10 people...and you gave them $200...well...that is a $2,000 bonus per caregiver total if everybody gave $200...

                      Just trying to get you to think this thru...

                      Teena

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                      • #12
                        I am sort of regretting that I started this thread

                        Just to clarify, I am not trying to match the bonus they normally recieve from the agency. But given that they are not getting one from the agency this year and I have been cleared to give a small cash gift due to the staffing and funding arrangements I currently have with this agency, I would like to do so.

                        I have had a lot of things going on in my life this year with some health issues, returning to school, travelling, moving into a new condo, dealing with some serious stressors within my family, etc. And despite chronic annoyances like lateness, eating my food, talking on their cellphones too much, the fact is my quality of life would be much lower right now without the efforts of my caregiving staff. They were all really upset by the fact they won't be getting their bonuses, something that, right or wrong, is now affecting me. I want to do something small to take away some of that sting and also thank them for all they do for me. I just am not sure exactly what is the best way to do this, although the suggestions in this thread have given me some good ideas.

                        I am not talking about a large amount of money per person--anything they get from me will be small compared to what they normally recieve. I think Trainman understands why I want to do this because he needs a similar level of care and assistance getting to school as I do. If a person has never been in that situation, it might be harder to understand why I want (need) to do this.

                        Teena it's unlikely they would be able to accept a cash gift from most of the other agency's clients they may work with. As I already mentioned, I am part of a special program that gives me more control over some aspects of my funding than I normally would have being in my situation. Last Christmas I wasn't part of this program yet and was much more limited as Trainmain is, of what I could give out as a bonus.
                        Last edited by orangejello; 11-23-2009, 07:40 PM.

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                        • #13
                          OJ: I thought Trainmans suggestions about the notes were good, to be used to encourage and to thank.

                          I do get the need and want to show thanks. This has been a crazy year with all kinds of changes. Your caregivers in large part have made it possible.

                          The sincerity of your gesture will come thru to them, no matter the size of the gift.

                          I got some good insight about how some do this. Same with Uncle Peter's thread a ways back.
                          Every day I wake up is a good one

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                          • #14
                            Hey, I certainly did not mean to come off as so negative to your idea...and I was just thinking off the top of my head...and please please don't be wishing you never started this thread...

                            I think it is great that you want to do this, really I do...

                            I guess my mind is kinda poisioned towards caregivers who become too needy, do things haphazardly, etc. All I have to go on is the folks who stayed with my Grandma, and we had some crazy folks, believe me. One decided to go to the mall on her shift...called a cab, to the tune of about $50 back then, and called a neighbor to come stay with my Grandma, while she, the caregiver, went to the mall. Mind you my Mom would have been home in like 30 minutes to take care of my Grandma...and the caregiver had set times in which she was off, and we would have gladly taken her to the mall...

                            Another team of two ladies stayed with her, and the Postman stopped my Dad and asked if those ladies were staying with my Grandma...he said yes...and the Postman proceeded to tell him that his wife had to fire them from staying with his Mother-in-law because they were doubling her medication to make her sleep so they would not have to do anything...

                            And my Grandma had become more sleepy/less alert...and my Mom checked, and sure enough...the pills were going faster than they should and they got fired that very night...

                            And another instance, the caregiver turned the heat up to nearly 100 degrees, and my Grandma was so wet with sweat she could not stand it...

                            And then thank goodness, we got a wonderful caregiver after that, and all was well...

                            But what a mess...

                            So...please don't judge what I said, because like I said...I believe my mind is poisioned against caregivers who want to mooch off of other folks...

                            And follow your heart...it's a good heart...and it will let you know what to do!

                            Take care!!!

                            Teena

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                            • #15
                              I like to give my care attendants a little something for Christmas and make them feel appreciated. If they are doing a good job it pays to keep them happy.

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