$hocker: Bayada chairman gives $20 million to employees
PHILADELPHIA – Workers at Bayada Home Health Care have something extra to be thankful for this year.
The company's founder, Mark Baiada, shocked his employees Tuesday with a $20 million gift from his personal funds.
The windfall will range from $50 for new hires to tens of thousands of dollars for longtime employees, the company said.
Baiada revealed his contributions at a luncheon for some 100 unsuspecting employees, who responded with tears, hugs and a standing ovation.
The funds will go to workers in the 22 states where Bayada operates.
“It was an overwhelming experience,” said Nicole Green of Mount Laurel, a Bayada field nurse who attended the luncheon with co-workers from across the nation.
Green said employees were asked not to divulge the size of individual gifts.
"But it was very generous," said the three-year employee.
The gifts are part of the firm's expected transition to nonprofit status early next year and a way to show gratitude to employees, Baiada said.
“I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what has gotten us to this point and what I am particularly thankful for," he said.
Green said Baiada's appreciation for his employees was even more meaningful than the financial gain.
Bayada Home Health Care executives and elected officials hammer a wall to launch an expansion project. Jim Walsh
"It meant a lot to be recognized," she said. "He's very sincere and everything is just done from the heart."
The ceremony took place at Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia, just a block away from where Baiada opened his firm’s first service office in 1975, the company noted.
It said Baiada tapped $16,000 in savings to launch the home healthcare company.
The firm, which employs more than 26,000 people, has its headquarters in Moorestown and an operations center in Pennsauken.
The move to nonprofit status is designed to protect Bayada from sale and to direct the firm’s profits into its “mission and culture,” the company said.
The chairman's gifts were announced as Bayada faces two lawsuits alleging home healthcare aides were improperly denied overtime pay.
One suit, pending in federal court in Camden, demands additional pay for client service managers. The other, filed in federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, seeks to represent nurses, occupational therapists and other home healthcare aides.
Federal judges have granted conditional certification to each lawsuit, which still await final certification.
Bayada contends its pay policies are consistent with state and federal laws.
Jim Walsh: @jimwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; firstname.lastname@example.org