Baptist employees get $1,000 bonus

Virtually all of the 15,000 employees of Baptist Health South Florida are getting a $1,000 St. Valentine’s Day gift to make up for losses in take-home pay caused by increased taxes, the hospital system announced Tuesday.

The initiative, which will cost the system $12 million, will benefit everyone except executives -- assistant vice president and above -- and Baptist-employed physicians.

The money is intended to make up for the “fiscal cliff” deal which reinstated the full Social Security deduction from Americans’ paychecks. That deduction had previously been reduced as a federal stimulus effort to recover from the recession.

The payment is labeled as a “one-time employee appreciation bonus.” Baptist is the region’s largest non-government employer.

Brian Keeley, Baptist’s chief executive, said in a prepared statement: “With the sudden payroll tax increase in early January, everyone’s personal financial situation has been affected. ... Our future is secure because of our people. They are our most important asset, and in this new and uncertain healthcare environment, we are making financially responsible decisions to maintain employment stability and the strength of the organization.”

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