Human Resources

Examples of Competitive Financial Incentives for Staff

Providing competitive financial incentives with existing funds is a short-term strategy to invest in the Head Start workforce, promote retention of current staff, and recruit new staff to fill vacant positions (45 CFR §75.430(f)). Here you can explore examples of financial incentives from potential competing employers. Please be mindful of any applicable grant requirements that must be met, including period of availability for different funding sources. Learn more in ACF-IM-HS-22-04 Competitive Bonuses for the Head Start Workforce. The examples described below are current as of spring 2022.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in Charlotte, NC are providing both hiring and retention bonuses to their employees using American Rescue Plan funds.

Total Maximum Bonus: $2,500

Hiring bonuses are being used to recruit applicants for difficult-to-fill positions, including bus drivers ($1,000), special education teachers ($2,500), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) skilled tradespeople ($1,000), and instructional substitutes ($250).

All bonuses, except for substitutes, are paid in two installments: November 2021 and March 2022. The substitute teacher bonus was paid in full in November, providing the teacher completed 10+ assignments. To be eligible, employees must be in active status in their position at time of each payment.

Retention bonuses will be paid to full-time employees ($2,500) and part-time employees ($1,250) that started working at CMS on or before Oct. 31, 2021, and remain continuously employed through September 2022.

  • Bonuses are in two installments: December 2021 and September 2022

Source: CMS website

The District of Columbia government is providing direct payments to early childhood education (ECE) workers as a short-term strategy to improve low-compensation rates in order to attract and retain early childhood educators.

Total Maximum Bonus: $14,000

Direct payments are being offered to lead teachers ($14,000) and assistant teachers ($10,000) who work in a variety of ECE roles, including center teachers, center assistant teachers, child development home caregivers, and home associate caregivers. Payments are available regardless of whether the educator works in a Head Start or Early Head Start program.

  • To qualify, staff must be in an eligible ECE role and must have an employment start date on or before May 16, 2022.
  • The payments will be funded from city tax revenue, which increased in 2021 due to higher tax rates on those earning over $250,000 per year.

Source: DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force

Guilford County Schools (GCS) in Greensboro, NC and the surrounding area is offering $20,000 bonuses to newly hired teachers.

Total Maximum Bonus: $20,000

Bonuses are being offered to newly hired teachers, including elementary teachers, who agree to work for three years in a low-performing school and can demonstrate two consecutive years of student growth.

  • The specific payment schedule was not provided.
  • While the official press release from the school does not mention current teachers, a local news interview indicates current teachers may also be eligible for the bonus if they meet similar conditions.
  • The payments are funded using the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.

Source: GCS website; local WMFY news outlet

Iowa's Sioux City Community School District is offering recruitment bonuses for a variety of hard to fill positions, including both educator and non-educator positions.

Total Maximum Bonus: $5,000

Sign-on bonuses vary by position. Newly hired teachers earn a total bonus of $5,000 over two years, paid out in two installments of $2,500. Former teachers and permanent substitute teachers receive a single $2,500 payment. Additional positions, including certain para educators, food service workers, and bus drivers, earn a bonus of $1,000 paid out in three installments over a single year.

Source: Local Sioux City Journal news article

The Orangeburg County School District in South Carolina is offering hiring bonuses for certified teaching staff hired for the 2022-2023 school year.

Total Maximum Bonus: $3,000

Sign-on bonuses are for certified teaching staff only and will be distributed in a single payment before the end of September 2022. The bonuses are funded through a federal grant awarded to Vorhees College, which is partnering with the district.

Source: Local WIS news article