The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has published the guidelines for the new COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grant, which will available for the ten week period from August 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020 for qualified employers in specific industries.

How is hazard pay defined - and what is a front-line employee?

The Hazard Pay Grant is designed to provide additional income to help companies retain front-line employees who work at a significant level of risk in vital life-sustaining industries as described below. To clarify, front-liners are those necessary employees who must report to work during the pandemic.

Which industries are designated as vital?

Companies and nonprofit organizations that fall into the following life-sustaining categories are eligible to apply for the grant:

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance
    • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
    • Hospitals
    • Ambulatory Health Care Services
    • Social Assistance
      • Food Manufacturing
      • Food Retail Facilities
      • Janitorial Services to Buildings and Dwellings
      • Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
      • Security Services for Eligible Industries

How are the funds to be used?

Applicants can apply for up to $1200 per eligible full-time equivalent employee to a total of 500 eligible FTE employees per location. (But no employer can receive more than $3 million of funding under this program.)The grant funds are intended to be expended as hazard pay for employees in accordance with these defined parameters:

  • Employees must be considered direct, full-time or part-time
  • Employees must earn less than $20 hourly, excluding fringe benefits and overtime
  • Hazard pay must be used only during the 10 week period from August 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020
  • Employees must be employed in Pennsylvania
  • Employees must be deemed as being on the ‘front –line,’ facing the hazards of Covid-19 and have continued working through the Governor’s March 19, 2020 Business Closure Order for a life sustaining business (or a business that received a business waiver)

In addition, there are also requirements for the applicants:

  • Employers must pay their employees at least the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour
  • Employers must pay their share of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)
  • Employers must follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well as Department of Health regulations and adhere to the Governor’s Phased Reopening Plan
  • Employers must be in compliance with all relevant laws, orders and regulations that occurred during the period of the Covid-19 disaster emergency

How does a company apply for the grant?

Businesses, healthcare nonprofits, public transportation agencies, and Certified Economic Development Organizations (CEDO) that fall within the eligible industry sectors can apply by submitting the on-line Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application for Assistance that can be accessed at www.esa.dced.state.pa.us

Applications will be accepted between July 16, 2020 and July 31, 2020. Following the approval of the application by the DCED, a grant agreement will be electronically issued to the applicant explaining the terms and conditions. This must be electronically signed and returned to the DCED within 30 days or the grant may be withdrawn.

Along with the on-line form there are other documents and details that must be submitted by the applicant.

These include, but are not limited to, a project narrative that lists the business’ industry category, a description of the life-sustaining services, the location of the business, the impact of Covid-19 on the business, whether the company is already awarding hazard pay to employees, the amount of the grant request, a description of how the funds will be used, the number of front-line workers, their job types and hourly rates as well as other pertinent details that are relevant to the selection process.

How is the selection made?

If you are interested in finding out more about the PA Hazard Pay Grant, please contact us and we will be happy to review the details and the calculations with you. It is important to note that all applications will be judged based on three criteria:

  • Risk of exposure by industry
  • Location and prevalence of Covid-19
  • Average hourly wage paid by employer

How is risk determined?

The levels of risk are fairly well defined as they occur under a Covid-19 scenario, as such:

  • Those jobs that have a high potential of exposure to known or suspected sources of Covid-19 during medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures specifically, including aerosol generating procedures, or the collecting and handling of specimens from infected patients, will be evaluated as being in a very high risk category.
  • Those jobs with a high potential of exposure in healthcare areas including the delivery and support and medical transport will be deemed to be high risk.
  • Those jobs that require frequent close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not suspected as patients, will be labeled as medium risk.
  • Those jobs that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected will be judged to have low occupational risk.

We look forward to hearing from you.