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? about referral bonus


I've just started a new job at a hospital where an acquaintance of mine works. I put her name down as a referrence after I was hired because there was no place to put it on my application. Another friend of mine (who is actually a friend of this acquaintance) told me that it's customary for people to split the referral bonus. This is all new to me so I thought I'd ask you guys. My acquaintance is new to nursing, she graduated in December just like me, so I'm not sure she knows about this 'tradition' either. What do you guys think? Is it usually customary to split the referral bonus if you know each other?


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

First of all ... are you sure that your acquaintance is going to get a bonus? When my hospital had recruitment bonuses, it was only for experienced nurses -- not new grads. If new grads were included, almost every new grad hired would have generated a bonus for a classmate who had also been hired.

Second ... If you knew there would be a bonus and did not discuss "an arrangement" with your acquaintance beforehand, it's kind'a tacky to ask for the money now. If you didn't know there would be a bonus -- and you did discuss the referral with your acquaintance, then it is not nice of her to not tell you about it. Take that into consideration in any decisions you make.

I guess that's the key to my opinion on the matter. It all depends on who knew what at what time. Did you acquaintance actively recruit you to get the bonus and then not tell you about it? That would be underhanded.

On the other, did your acquaintance not know about the bonus -- or not know that you planned to use her name as a reference? If either is the case, then your acquaintance did nothing underhanded.

Did you ask your acquaintance if you could use her name as a reference? If not, then you violated a basic principle of courtesy -- and it would be doubly tacky for you now to ask to be paid for it.

A lot depends on information I don't have.

I guess I should've been a little clearer, but I was in a hurry to get this posted before leaving for work....

Technically I'm not a new grad, I've been working in my specialty as an RN for over 5 months, so I wasn't hired as a new grad, but as a Staff RN. When I started filling out applications, my friend told me this acquaintance was working at hospital XYZ and told me to give her a call. I called this acquaintance and got the information about the hospital and how she liked working there etc., then called her again when I scheduled my interview. She was working that day so I stopped by, said hello and then she went and told the manager I was there. At that time, the manager said "hey you can get a bonus for referring her" and told me to fill out a referral paperwork for this acquaintance. After I was hired this acquaintance and I both went down and filled out the paperwork for the referral bonus. I was telling my friend about it that night (she's actually the friend of this acquaintance) and she said, "that's great, it's customary to split referrals, Jane Doe should be splitting it with you."

This is all new to me, so I thought I'd post this thread to see if splitting referral bonuses is the norm, or if my friend is out in left field about it. I'm not going to go back and tell this acquaintance to split it with me (that would be totally rude and tacky!):imbar, I'm just trying, for future reference, to get the low-down about it. I also don't want to be in the position some day where I refer someone and get a bonus, but don't know that I'm supposed to split it with someone, if that is in fact the norm. YKWIM?


RainDreamer, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 13 years experience.

At my very first nursing job I put down a name of a person I knew that worked there, they said she would get a bonus since I put her name down. I never even thought of asking her to split it with me.

When I have received (performance) bonuses at work, they have been taxable. I would think all bonuses would be taxable.

I don't think splitting a bonus is customary unless it is pre-arranged. I have seen folks network online to try to get bonuses (e.g., request pm so they can give someone they don't otherwise know their name for a referral bonus).

I don't think I'd ask a friend whe referred me to his or her place of employment to share the bonus. I think I'd try to refer someone myself... Just my two cents.

Thanks for your answers, as a new nurse it's hard to know what is customary and what isn't. I never intended to ask her to split the bonus, I just wanted to make sure that when I refer someone in the future, I do what's customary whether it's splitting the bonus or keeping it, YKWIM?

Thanks again for your answers!!

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

Hey Keli,

Sometimes they won't give you that bonus unless you put it on the application....or filled out a seperate form before applying (your friend would have needed to fill that out). I don't know where you are working now but that is how it is at several hospitals I know of.

And, if you are eligible for the bonus....your friend should just KNOW to split it with you since after all you did come work there. Half and half..in my opinion...is how it should always be!!! Maybe she'll give you half when she gets the $$. Usually it takes forever. Banner paid out at 90 days and 6 months! And yeah, taxed. That sucked.

Hope your job is going good!:heartbeat

Hey thrashej,

She is going to get the bonus, HR said she was, so it's good on that end. They actually give $250 upon hire, $750 after the first month and $1000 after three months, it's pretty good, so $2000 total, minus taxes.

The new job is going great!! I really like how the unit is set up and they're in the process of making a lot of changes right now, for the better it seems. They've just hired a new educator (who I already know, I worked with her at my last job) and she's very proactive and all about getting to know us and keeping up with our training. At my last job I never even met the educator, in 6 months of working there as a new grad!!

I hope you're doing great, keep me updated, okay?

Take care

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I'm glad to read that it is working out well for you.

As for your original question ... as a hypothetical ...

If I were the person receiving a bonus for recruiting a friend, I would offer to share a portion with them AFTER all the taxes were paid, etc. It would be less that 1/2 the total bonus because I was bearing the burden of paying the taxes, etc.

If I were the new recruit whose friend was receiving a bonus because she was recruiting me... it would depend on whether or not the friend had actually put in any effort to recruit me.

I would ask for a piece of the bonus if the friend had not put in any effort to recruit me but was just asking me to say that she did to get the bonus. Before writing her name down as the person who recruited me, I would want to know "What's in it for me? You didn't actually do anything to earn this bonus." It would be a pure business arrangement between the two of us.

If the friend had actually EARNED the bonus by working for it, I would not ask for a share, but would accept it gratefully if it were offered.

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