University of Illinois Hospital, Illinois Nurses Association agree on COVID-19 pay

UI Health Hospital_building side
University of Illinois Hospital (Photo: UI Health)

The University of Illinois Hospital and the Illinois Nurses Association agreed on a schedule of enhanced compensation for nurses working during the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement makes the hospital, which is part of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the first and only in the state, and one of the few nationally, to announce differential pay for care providers with COVID-19 responsibilities.

“The circumstances in which our nurses and our staff are working today are beyond what any of us anticipated just a short time ago and, quite simply, this is the right thing to do,” said Michael Zenn, CEO of the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics. “We are pleased that in partnership with the INA and the university we have been able to appropriately recognize the unique burden and risk experienced by our nurses and we feel this agreement is for the good of our entire community.”

According to Alice Johnson, executive director of the INA, INA has been advocating for COVID-19 pay for our members since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “We are thrilled to announce that INA and the hospital have agreed to provide this much-deserved compensation for our members,” she said. “UIH Administration deserves credit for moving as quickly as they did on this issue- again, well before any other hospital in the area.”

Johnson said this agreement offers “an immediate way for our members to be compensated for the additional work, stress and risk that they are under.”

Under the agreement, all University of Illinois Hospital INA nurses will receive differential pay.

Hourly Registered Nurses (RNs):

  • All hourly RNs (including In-House Registry) who are working on site and not working in a COVID-designated Unit, will receive COVID pay of $5 per hour for all hours worked.
  • Any nurse working on a non-ICU COVID Unit will receive COVID pay of $10 per hour.
  • Any nurse working on one of the critical care COVID Units will receive COVID pay of $15 per hour.
  • This is in addition to the differential paid when nurses are reassigned to other units in the hospital.

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs):

  • All LPNs who are working on site but not on a COIVID Unit will receive COVID pay of $3.50 per hour.
  • If reassigned to any unit, LPNs will receive the regular reassignment differential of $2 per hour per the Union Contract.
  • If reassigned to a non-ICU COVID unit), they will receive COVID pay of $7 per hour in addition to the reassignment differential.
  • If reassigned to a critical COVID Unit that nurse will receive COVID pay of $9 per hour in addition to the reassignment differential.

Salaried RNs (HURC IIs and CNC2s):

  • These salaried RNs working on site will receive $400 bi-weekly. These amounts will be paid out on a monthly basis. Any salaried RN who is reassigned to a COVID Unit will receive an additional $120 bi-weekly, and if working on a critical care COVID Unit they will receive an additional $100 bi-weekly on top of any reassignment pay.

The differential pay agreement, which will also apply to select categories of other hospital staff, is effective as of March 22, the pay period in which the hospital’s COVID units were initiated. It will remain in place until either the Illinois stay-at-home order is lifted or the hospital suspends its internal emergency operations, which may proceed beyond the order.

About the Illinois Nurses Association
The Illinois Nurses Association is the nurses’ union, at the forefront, fighting for nurses’ rights and empowering them to be the best advocates for their patients and their community. INA is the nursing union in the State of Illinois, providing professional representation, improving wages and terms and conditions of employment for nurses in bargaining units represented by the INA, creating an environment where all RNs can participate and lead in protecting patient care by organizing unorganized RNs that do not have the professional standards that INA represented members have gained. INA currently represents nurses working in the private and public sector in Illinois. For more information about the INA, visit or

About the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System
The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health) provides comprehensive care, education, and research to the people of Illinois and beyond. A part of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), UI Health comprises a clinical enterprise that includes a 462-bed tertiary care hospital (the University of Illinois Hospital), 21 outpatient clinics, and 11 Mile Square Health Center facilities, which are Federally Qualified Health Centers. It also includes the seven UIC health science colleges: the College of Applied Health Sciences; the College of Dentistry; the School of Public Health; the Jane Addams College of Social Work; and the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing, including regional campuses in Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield, and Urbana. UI Health is dedicated to the pursuit of health equity.

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