Using funds provided under the federal CARES Act, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has announced a “COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grant Program.” The program will help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible employers must act quickly as the fund applications will only be open from July 16 to July 31. If grants are received, they must be used for extra pay for eligible employees during a 10-week period beginning August 16, 2020.
Hazard pay is intended to keep front-line employees working in sectors that are vital to every Pennsylvanians’ existence. The program will help employers provide hazard pay for their employees to retain current employees. This reimbursement-based grant is for employers who will be offering hazard pay over the eligible program period.
Who is Eligible?
Just because a business was deemed “life-sustaining” under Governor Wolf’s business closure order in March, employees of such businesses are not necessarily eligible for hazard pay under the grant program. Businesses, healthcare non-profits, public transportation agencies, and certified economic development organizations may apply for funding for employers located and operating in Pennsylvania within the following eligible industries:
- Health care and social assistance entities, including hospitals, nursing homes and residential care facilities
- Food manufacturing
- Food retail facilities
- Transit and ground passenger transportation
- Security services for the above industries and also for commercial industries that were not closed by the Governor’s order in March
- Building and dwelling janitorial services
What May the Funds Be Used For?
Grant funds may be used for hazard pay (as defined below) for direct, full-time and part-time employees who earn less than $20 per hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime. Funds may only be used to pay hazard pay for eligible employees for a 10-week period from August 16, 2020, through October 24, 2020. Hazard pay means additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship, in each case that is related to COVID-19.
Applicants may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. The hazard pay must be paid to the eligible employee over the 10-week period of August 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020, as a $3/hour hazard pay increase to their regular pay rate. Employers may apply for a grant to provide hazard pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location ($600,000 maximum grant per location). No employer may receive more than $3 million of the funding under the program.
How to Apply
Applications will be received between July 16, 2020 and July 31, 2020. To apply for funding, applications must be submitted through DCED’s electronic single Application located at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us. Program inquiries may be directed to (717) 787-6245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.