The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) has established the “COVID-19 PA Hazard Pay Grant Program” which has been designed to assist employers in paying additional hazard pay to life-sustaining business “front-line workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full details of the program can be found under “Guidelines” here.

A few pertinent points about the program:

  • Any business is able to apply as long as it operates in one of the eligible industries listed below. Non-profits are also eligible to apply if they are in the Healthcare industry or if they are a Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO).
  • You MUST operate in one of the following industries (see the Guidelines for full descriptions)
    • Healthcare
    • Food Manufacturing
    • Food Retail Facilities
    • Social Assistance – Daycare, Community Housing, etc.
    • Janitorial Service to Buildings and Dwellings
    • Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation
    • Security Services – only for services provided to industries above and commercial industries that are not open as a result of a business closure order
  • The application must be submitted online through the DCED Electronic Single Application for Assistance which is located here. There is also a list of items the applicant must submit when applying – please refer to “Guidelines” on the DCED website.
  • Applications will only be accepted between July 16 and July 31.
  • The applications are NOT first come, first served, but rather will be prioritized by industry in the order listed above (healthcare will receive top priority, while transit and security services will receive last priority).
  • The program provides grants of up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee and all the following apply:
    • It must be paid out to the employee as a $3 per hour “hazard pay” increase to their regular pay rate.
    • It must be paid out over the 10-week period of August 16, 2020 to October 24, 2020.
    • It must be paid in addition to any eligible overtime and other benefits and cannot replace current pay or scheduled pay increases.
    • The hazard pay is limited to 40 hours per week per employee.
    • The employee must be earning less than $20 per hour (excluding fringe benefits and overtime).
    • The employee must be working on site at company or job locations. Employees teleworking are NOT eligible.
    • Employers may apply for a grant of up to 500 eligible FTEs per location for a max of $600,000 per location. An employer may not exceed $3,000,000 in total grant money.

Employers do have to be paying employees at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and employers are responsible for the employer share of FICA taxes . They also must be following CDC guidelines and be in compliance with all other relevant laws, orders and regulations related to COVID-19.

This program does not seem to be restricted by employer size, but it does appear the intent is for ALL employees earning less than $20 per hour (and meeting all other requirements) to receive hazard pay although the grant will only cover up to 500 FTEs. So if you have 1,000 employees at a single location and all earn $20 per hour or less all must receive the $3 increase but you as an employer would only be eligible for a grant covering up to 500 of them. You are not restricted by any other government funding you may have received such as a PPP loan or employee retention credit.

Again, a reminder to please refer to the DCED website above for the complete set of guidelines. As always we are happy to help. Please contact your DunlapSLK team member with any questions.