Per diem VS travel

  1. Ok friends I am in the process of stepping away from travel. Well sort of. I have the opportunity to take a per diem job at Kaiser in NorCal. My pay rate will be $93/hr with differential of 7.20/hr for PM shift and 11.40/hr for night shift (they do 8 hr shifts here. I mostly plan to work PMs but figure I will probably do a few double once in a while so I gave that info too. Now at first I heard the pay and I was like wow im going to make big money...BUT. I wanted to compare what we make vs what per diem makes so bring in the Pantraveler calculator and I find that I will not be making that much more d/t taxes. Although it is still more.

    Current contract same hospital but as traveler. 13 week contract x 36 hours/week (12 hour shift with OT after 8.
    $35/hr x 36
    $245/week m&I
    $935.41/week lodging stipend
    $300 travel allowance
    =78.35/hr
    $2820.49 gross week
    $2183.49 net/week (This is almost exactly what I make each week)

    Now for the new per diem job that I just accepted, they get paid bi weekly and I wasn't sure how to account for that in any way other than to divide by 2 for the weekly pay. Also only 8 hour shift so assuming I only get 32 hours a week. The staff said in busy times we can get more but hours aren't guaranteed for per diem but 32 hours is pretty doable even in low times. The calculator I found stated taxes for this area and my salary range to by 21% so that determined the Net.

    $93/hr + $7.20 diff =$100.2 x 32 hours
    $6413 gross (biweekly) divided by 2= $3206
    $4626 Net (Biweekly) divided by 2= $2313

    So as you see it seems like the rate was going to be much better but in reality tax free stipends are worth a lot. I figure if it gets really slow I can still take another travel job too as I am still going to keep my tax home for a while. I know eventually I will have to give it up but I haven't been in this area long yet. I have no plans to buy a house here so we will still be living in our RV for some time. Just wanted to show you comparisons for anyone that wonders. The big mystery here is this is a non benefit job so not sure what my insurance will cost but that will not be till next year.
  2. Visit 8-ball profile page

    About 8-ball, ASN, BSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 283; Likes: 146

    17 Comments

  3. by   Argo
    Just watch out with per diem. A traveller i work with did per diem with kaiser and was getting cancelled half of the time. Guaranteed travelers were getting the shifts.

    Your taxes will end up coming out more than that too. I have scoped out a few peoples checks for comparison and the state/fed taxes are pretty ridiculous.

    Just out of curiosity, why is your hourly wage that high as a traveller. I know some people like to keep it higher for OT rates..... just negotiate a higher OT rate into the contract. As an exaple.... I was at $22/hour making $2950 take home weekly in SF on 36 hours. Max out those stipends. I just go with, down to $20/hr minimum and $25/hr maximum if possible.

    Just reread it that your NorCal and not necessarily in the bay area proper....
  4. by   8-ball
    Well yes I do OT so that was why originally. My recruiter basically knows I like a higher pay rate too because I worry about that workers comp/disability issue which is based off your taxable rate. I know not the best option but peace of mind. Here at this Kaiser they have quite a few per diem people and they said they never get canceled in fact the other day 4 of us (not all per diem) sat in ICU with no patients for 8 hours. The one thing they do is if you give them 5-6 days you can work they may only confirm you for 3-4 days only but once your confirmed they cannot cancel (union rules).
  5. by   NedRN
    Consider doing the per diem in addition to a nearby travel assignment. Three 12s travel plus a couple days per diem. You may lose your tax home status after a year, but then if the per diem has worked out, you can simply do that. Good money for up to a year depending on your circumstances. I'd run it by TravelTax for the tax home thing. I know he will say that rotating around that hospital with travel assignments an hour away will not work. He is conservative (a good thing) but his opinion will be valuable in any case.
  6. by   8-ball
    Actually I had considered doing exactly that. In fact I have an Skype appointment with my accountant (he has experience with Travel) this week so I will let you know what he says. I plan on picking up a travel assignment nearby
  7. by   NedRN
    Per diem needs to be incidental to a travel assignment, not the other way around. If you first take an open ended job like per diem, that is your tax home and the travel assignment is now a local assignment. Tricky!
  8. by   jive turkey
    Quote from 8-ball
    Ok friends I am in the process of stepping away from travel. Well sort of. I have the opportunity to take a per diem job at Kaiser in NorCal. My pay rate will be $93/hr with differential of 7.20/hr for PM shift and 11.40/hr for night shift (they do 8 hr shifts here. I mostly plan to work PMs but figure I will probably do a few double once in a while so I gave that info too. Now at first I heard the pay and I was like wow im going to make big money...BUT. I wanted to compare what we make vs what per diem makes so bring in the Pantraveler calculator and I find that I will not be making that much more d/t taxes. Although it is still more.

    Current contract same hospital but as traveler. 13 week contract x 36 hours/week (12 hour shift with OT after 8.
    $35/hr x 36
    $245/week m&I
    $935.41/week lodging stipend
    $300 travel allowance
    =78.35/hr
    $2820.49 gross week
    $2183.49 net/week (This is almost exactly what I make each week)

    Now for the new per diem job that I just accepted, they get paid bi weekly and I wasn't sure how to account for that in any way other than to divide by 2 for the weekly pay. Also only 8 hour shift so assuming I only get 32 hours a week. The staff said in busy times we can get more but hours aren't guaranteed for per diem but 32 hours is pretty doable even in low times. The calculator I found stated taxes for this area and my salary range to by 21% so that determined the Net.

    $93/hr + $7.20 diff =$100.2 x 32 hours
    $6413 gross (biweekly) divided by 2= $3206
    $4626 Net (Biweekly) divided by 2= $2313

    So as you see it seems like the rate was going to be much better but in reality tax free stipends are worth a lot. I figure if it gets really slow I can still take another travel job too as I am still going to keep my tax home for a while. I know eventually I will have to give it up but I haven't been in this area long yet. I have no plans to buy a house here so we will still be living in our RV for some time. Just wanted to show you comparisons for anyone that wonders. The big mystery here is this is a non benefit job so not sure what my insurance will cost but that will not be till next year.
    I worked with a nurse who was local to the facility staffed with an agency and her hours were guaranteed or "blocked out" as they referred to it. Her blocks weren't much shorter than it was for a traveler. Same benefit, stayed local. No low census/standby. Is this an option in your area?
  9. by   8-ball
    some what yes. I will give the hospital my availability and they will either confirm my hours or not. Most of the other per diem people said they give them like 5-6 days of availability a week and they get confirmed 3-4 days (8 hour shifts) once confirmed they cannot cancel you (at this facility). You can get confirmation up to a month in advance.
  10. by   8-ball
    FYI I talked to my accountant and he said I will not have to change my tax home until I have been in the area for 1 year, even if I take a travel assignment in the area as well. After the 1 year mark I will be considered a CA resident. He suggested that when I get near my 1 year to take a sabbatical or something like that and travel back to TN or somewhere else and work for a while then I can go back to my per diem job. Not sure if I can work that with the hospital but I don't have to worry about that just yet. I guess overall since the requirement is only 4 shifts a month I could go take a job somewhere a few hours away and travel back work my 4 shifts a month (just to keep the job) and do that for 1 assignment then come back. Although I meant to ask him, I think the requirement is actually no more than 12 months in a 24 month period in 1 place without losing travel status. If that is the case I will have to really reconsider this.
  11. by   jive turkey
    Thank you for sharing what the ACCOUNTANT had to say
  12. by   NedRN
    Sorry, your accountant is wrong. Let's say you are a local resident. You take a per diem job. Fully taxed, right? No difference between that and you. Nor should there be. Right? Otherwise everyone would get the tax break.

    Travel is different as it is a short term contract with an end date. Per diem is just like a perm staff job. Your tax home shifts (if you had one somewhere else) first day of work (sometimes when you agree to take it) and all compensation is taxable.

    Of course, Kaiser is going to tax all your compensation so that is OK. As long as you don't claim expenses on your tax return for working away from home. Or fail to pay taxes on any (now) local travel assignment.

    Take a travel assignment first and work per diem, it is now incidental and your tax home will remain. Lots of traveler work for local agencies on their days off during an assignment, that is OK as long as it is clear they are in the area for their travel contract and let's say they don't work per diem for a month after their contract ends.

    You don't have to believe me. Please confirm with TravelTax (free consult). This is a nuance that I wouldn't expect an accountant who is not specialized in travel healthcare professionals to get right.
  13. by   8-ball
    I think your saying what he said. I may not have made that clear but he was encouraging me to take a travel assignment as well as a per diem.
  14. by   NedRN
    Do a consult with TravelTax. Your accountant is also wrong about a sabbatical around one year and then going back to your open ended per diem job with or without a travel assignment. Doing that would lose in an audit easily.

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