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October 27, 2021

Philly substitute teachers, nurses to get daily bonuses amid worker shortages

The incentives seek to entice experienced workers to come back to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic

Education Schools
Philadephia Substitute Teachers Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia is handing substitute workers, including teachers, nurses and counselors, daily bonuses in an attempt to address a substitute shortage.

Substitute teachers who work at the School District of Philadelphia are in for a pay raise.

The district is offering daily bonuses to substitute workers, including teachers, nurses, food service workers, counselors and librarians, in an attempt to mitigate a substitute shortage, according to Kelly Educational Services, which supplies the district with substitute workers 

Substitute teachers, librarians and counselors will get a $50 daily increase through April. Substitute nurses will receive an additional $100 per day. 

The bonuses effectively raise the daily pay of an uncertified substitute teacher to $176.76 and certified teachers to $210.06. 

Retired certified teachers and counselors will make $274.06 a day and long-term substitute teachers, librarians and counselors will make $250. Retired substitutes, counselors and librarians who take on long-term positions will make $279.92 each day.

Substitute nurses will receive their bonuses on top of their $40 hourly rate. 

Substitute food service workers, secretaries and teaching assistants will receive a $20 daily bonus, in addition to hourly wage increased, KYW reported. Food workers' hourly rates will increase from $9.50 to $14. The hourly wages for secretaries and teaching assistants will jump from $11 to $15.  

Substitute food service workers will receive a $20 daily bonus, bumping their hourly rate from $9.50 to $14. Substitute secretaries and teaching assistants also will receive a $20 bonus, increasing their hourly rate from $11 to $15. 

The wage increases are directly aimed at enticing people with experience to come back to the classroom, Brad Beckner, the northeast regional vice president of operations for Kelly Educational Services, told KYW.

Substitute teacher demand has surged amid nationwide labor shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% in September — the lowest it has been since February 2020 — but many companies are still dolling out work incentives like signing bonuses and higher wages.

Beckner told KYW that the estimated number of available substitute teachers sits around 1,000 people.

"I'm looking at this wage increase to double that pool within the next 6 to 8 weeks," Beckener said.

In early October, Kelly Educational Services was filling about 70% of its open school jobs across the country, down from its typical rate of 80 to 90%, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. But it only had a 41% fill rate in Philadelphia, meaning most vacancies remain unstaffed. 

People who wish apply to become a substitute teacher can visit or call (215) 604-1030.

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