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July 16, 2020

Pennsylvania unveils $50 million hazard pay grant program for life-sustaining industries

Employers in eligible sectors can receive support for a 10-week period

Business Grants
Pennsylvania Hazard Pay Grants Source/PA Governor's Office

Life-sustaining workers in Pennsylvania's health care, transit, food manufacturing and other industries can receive hazard pay from their employers through federally funded grant program. For those eligible, assistance would cover a 10-week period running from mid-August into late October.

Businesses in life-sustaining industries may be eligible to apply for grants that would provide hazard pay for employees who are at greater risk during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday.

The $50 million program was created through the federal CARES act, offering reimbursement-based grants to cover a 10-week period of employment eligibility from Aug. 16 to Oct. 24, 2020. 

Applications for the program, available through the Department of Community and Economic Development, can be submitted electronically between July 16 and July 31, 2020.

"In the fight against COVID-19, our front-line workers have put themselves at risk every day in order to continue to provide life-sustaining services to their fellow Pennsylvanians, and this funding will increase their pay in recognition of those sacrifices," Wolf said. "These grants will help businesses retain employees, ensure that Pennsylvanians keep working and avoid disruption of critical goods and services."

Businesses that meet the eligibility requirements below may apply for grants up to $3 million.

The following applicants are eligible to apply:

• Businesses
• Health care non-profits
• Public transportation agencies
• Certified Economic Development Organizations

Eligible Pennsylvania-based industries include:

• Health care and social assistance
• Ambulatory health care services
• Hospitals
• Nursing and residential care facilities
• Transit and ground passenger transportation
• Food manufacturing
• Food retail facilities
• Security Services for eligible industries listed above and commercial industries that were not closed as a result of the Governor’s Business Closure Order
• Janitorial services to buildings and dwellings

Grants may be used for hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20/hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime during the eligibility period noted above.

Applicants can apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent employee, covering hazard pay for up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.

"An essential component of the spending plan we passed this spring was the use of available federal money to provide extra hazard pay for workers who are doing the most dangerous jobs," said House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. "Today's announcement shows we are serious about keeping that commitment and I urge all the employers who qualify for these grants to apply now."

Those who have questions and other inquiries about the program can call the DCED hotline at (717) 787-6245 or send an email to