Wage Equity Add-On FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1. Is overtime/double time included in the calculation to determine the average hourly rate?

2. As part of trying to eliminate the use of agency staff, we may be hiring more inexperienced aides which decreases our weighted average hourly rate. I’m not sure how we account for the wage scale increase when that happens since the average will appear as if we did not spend the funds.

3. If a facility has purchased a service (e.g. Laundry and Housekeeping) and they bring it in house, what do they use as a starting hourly wage? Is it what they hire them at or the hourly wage being paid in purchased services as the starting wage? Do all the wages count for the first year or do they not count until they give them a raise after hiring them down the road where the incremental wages then count? 

4. Are we limited to only giving out a 4 dollar per hour raise? Are we allowed to give more than that?

5. What happens if we don’t spend all the funds? I understand we will need to return it but would there be any penalty associated with it?

6. What is the speculation regarding the continuation of this rate? Is this a one-year deal only?

7. The information says we need to use the last 2 payrolls for 2021 to compute the average rates. Does that mean the last 2 paychecks or the last 2 pay periods? 

8. For CHOWs between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23, do the two owners combine their report? Or would each owner be required to file for the period that they owned the building? 

9. What if a facility closes between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23? Do they still need to complete this worksheet? 


Answers

Is overtime/double time included in the calculation to determine the average hourly rate?

The overtime and double time is included in the hours. However, only the base wage is used and not any additional pay for those hours.

 

As part of trying to eliminate the use of agency staff, we may be hiring more inexperienced aides which decreases our weighted average hourly rate. I’m not sure how we account for the wage scale increase when that happens since the average will appear as if we did not spend the funds.

The Wage Equity Funding Worksheet is data collection to illustrate how money was used and not necessarily a collection of unspent funds exercise. However, the department is requiring backup documentation of the calculation of maximum, minimum, and average wages.  For example, per job classification reported on the Wage Equity Funding Worksheet the average wage calculation would be a calculation of related total eligible wages divided by related total eligible hours.  Backup documentation calculations of the maximum and minimum wage would be the array of related hourly wages per job class reported on the Wage Equity Funding Worksheet and calculating the maximum and minimum wage from the array.

 

If a facility has purchased service Laundry and Housekeeping and they bring it in house. What do they use as a starting hourly wage? Is it just what they hire them at, or the hourly wage being paid in purchased services as the starting wage? Do all the wages count for the first year or do they not count until they give them a raise after hiring them down the road where the incremental wages then count?

The agency/purchased services wages for staff that are brought in-house do not get used for wages paid in Dec 2021 to calculate the max, min, and average wage, but then all brought in-house non-agency/purchased service wages will be used for the time period of 7/1/22 to 6/30/23 to calculate the max, min and average wage. In some cases, we may use comparable facilities for a baseline wage. 

 

Are we limited to only giving out a 4 dollar per hour raise? Are we allowed to give more than that?

There is no limit to the raises direct care staff can receive. However, the wage equity funding was earmarked by the Legislature as only for raises up to four dollars per hour on average. Raises over that average must be paid by the facility. These raises should be included on the cost report and would become part of the base rate if and when the rate is rebased using that year's costs. 

 

What happens if we don’t spend all the funds? I understand we will need to return it but would there be any penalty associated with it?  

There is no penalty associated with underspent wage equity funding. As with any money owed to the Department, if the repayment is not timely there may be a lateness penalty. 

 

What is the speculation regarding the continuation of this rate? Is this a one-year deal only?

Although the funding for these wage increases are technically included in future years, there are some technical fixes required to the Nursing Facility Medicaid rates that will be needed to ensure there isn't a rate decrease starting July 1, 2023. The Department has submitted a request to OFM to enact these changes, and we would encourage you to reach out to your Representatives regarding this add-on if you wish to do so. 

 

The information says we need to use the last 2 payrolls for 2021 to compute the average rates. Does that mean the last 2 paychecks or the last 2 pay periods? 

The maximum, minimum, and average wage calculations for 12/31/2021 is from the hours worked for the month of December 2021.

 

For CHOWs between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23, do the two owners combine their report? Or would each owner be required to file for the period that they owned the building? 

The wage equity worksheet for each facility will be completed by the licensed vendor in operation on 6/30/23. In the case of a CHOW between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23 the licensed owner on 6/30/23 is responsible for collecting and reporting both their and any prior owners' wage data by combining and calculating the maximum, minimum, and average wage and hours for the month of December, 2021 and for the time period between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23. 

 

What if a facility closes between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23? Do they still need to complete this worksheet?

If a facility closes between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23 that results in less than a full FY23 of data, the licensed owner on the last day of operation is responsible for collecting and reporting both their and any prior owners' wage data by combining and calculating a maximum, minimum, and average wage and hours for the month of December, 2021 and for the time period between 7/1/22 and 6/30/23. The worksheet is due with the closing cost report for a facility that closes.