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Victory: More Alliance members are now eligible for Loan Forgiveness
Student loan debt is one of the biggest challenges facing union members. Recently, OFNHP won an important victory which will benefit KP employees across the program, by expanding access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This federal program forgives the loans of those who have spent ten years (120 monthly loan payments) employed in the nonprofit or public sector.
Eligibility for the program is limited to full-time employees – defined as working an average of 30+ hours a week or as defined by the employer, whichever is greater. Depending on the bargaining unit, Kaiser Permanente defines full-time status above 30 hours a week up to as much as 40 hours a week. Therefore, many employees averaging hours between 30 and the employer’s definition of full-time have been ineligible for the program - till now. Working with national AFT leadership, OFNHP secured a commitment from KP that the employer will now recognize employees working an average of 30 hours or more per week as “full-time”, for the purposes of qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This commitment will apply to all eligible KP employees, regardless of union, and allow many more employees to qualify.
Please note: This does not change the employer’s definition of full-time status for the purposes of any employer-administered benefits or programs. The PSLF program - as defined by the federal government - also requires employment at a nonprofit, so members working for SCPMG and TMPG are not eligible.
We congratulate OFNHP on this victory and urge you to share this information with your members so that those who were disqualified may now take advantage of the program.
At the national level, our unions have been advocating for student loan relief. The Biden administration approved billions of dollars in funding for this program. The administration has created a limited waiver which will be in effect until October 31, 2022, which will make it easier to qualify for the 120 monthly payments.
With Kaiser Permanente’s agreement to certify PSLF applications at 30+ hours per week, more of our members will now be eligible for this important benefit. As noted above, some federal program rules which increase eligibility are set to expire in October. We encourage everyone eligible to apply as soon as possible.
We have reached out to Kaiser to get more details on the validation process to best guide our members through the process of certifying their full-time status through Kaiser Permanente. Stay tuned for more information.
Task Force Update
Alliance unions are making progress in establishing regional Affordability and Competitiveness Task Forces by identifying labor participants, holding union caucus prep meetings, and scheduling initial Task Force meetings with management. The Regional Task Forces are a venue intended for open in-depth, leadership level, conversations about the financial and other challenges affecting KP. The Task Force contract language gives these committees a wide scope for talking about important issues. Another key role for the Task Forces is to identify cost-savings initiatives - whether at the UBT/departmental or regional levels - which can be mutually agreed upon for the 2023 PSP.
Re-blaze the Partnership Learning Trail
Reclaim your partnership training and development time to understand how partnership is a union strategy for empowering workers and learn how to leverage that power to achieve results for our patients and ourselves.
#SolidarityTuesdays is happening tomorrow, July 19, with a focus on #RacialJustice
The Alliance fought for and won provisions to address pay inequities in the Inland Empire and Kern County and aims to reach workforce equity and improve health disparities for our patients. It also includes historic racial justice language to build critical infrastructure for racial justice across all our work. It’s going to take all of us working together to build a culture of racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. For #SolidarityTuesdays on July 19, Alliance members across all KP regions are expressing their commitment to racial justice by:
What’s your commitment to racial justice?
Submit your photo actions:
If you have any questions please reach out to your union representative.In Solidarity,HNHP Interim Executive Board and Officers