What is the QBS differential?

One hour of time could add $1,000+ to your annual income…for the rest of your career at Kaiser.


The income opportunity I’m referring to is the QBS (Qualified Bilingual Staff) differential, established in 2000 to help Kaiser better serve its non-English speaking members.

The beauty of this program is that it enables you to collect a differential for all hours worked, whether while acting as an interpreter or not. There are two QBS levels: level 1, which requires basic fluency, and level 2, which requires intermediate fluency, including medical terminology.

In order to collect this additional income, you need only pass a short exam and act as an interpreter (on paid work time) when asked. If you’d like to schedule a level 1 or level 2 exam, complete the QBS Self-Selection Form and hand it to your manager.

Currently, the QBS differential is available for the following languages:

  • American Sign Language
  • Cantonese
  • Mandarin
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Facility-Specific Languages (check with your local HR department)

See the table for estimates of payout potential.


Payout Potential of QBS Differentials*

1 year

x 5 x 10 x 15 x 20

x 25

Level 1 – $0.25/hr


$2,600 $5,200 $7,800 $10,400


Level 2 – $0.55/hr


$5,720 $11,440 $17,160 $22,880


*Assuming a 40-hour workweek and no future adjustment to the differential amounts


Contractual Language

525 B. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA REGION Bilingual Employee Program.


The LMP Bilingual Program is a Northern California Labor Management Partnership initiative. Refer to the LMP Bilingual Program Manual for details.


526 1. Bilingual Differential.


There are two distinct levels of Qualified Bilingual Status (QBS) designation:


527 a.) Level 1.


The individual speaks well enough to function in a wide range of personal and occupational situations that require only conversational language skills. The differential for QBS Level 1 is $0.25 per hour.


528 b.) Level 2.


The individual speaks well enough to function in most personal and/or clinical settings that require a greater level of fluency including medical terminology. The differential for QBS Level II is $0.55 per hour.


2012 – 2019 SEIU-UHW / Kaiser Collective Bargaining Agreement

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