PHILADELPHIAAugust. 17, 2020 — State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) announced that $50 million in hazard pay grants had been recently awarded to  Pennsylvania businesses through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). 

A total of 41,587 full-time employees who make less than $20 per hour are now set receive a $3 per hour pay increase for a 10-week period from Aug. 16 to Oct. 24 through the grant program. A total of 639 businesses were awarded the grants, which will provide a up to $1,200 in hazard pay for eligible employees. More than 10,000 applications totaling $900 million in requests for hazard pay grants were received during the two-week application window.  

“We have asked our front-line workers to risk their life and health each time they go to work, and I am pleased we were at least able to provide a temporary pay increase for some of those workers,” Sen. Hughes said. “Unfortunately, there were thousands of employees we were unable to grant hazard pay because of a limited amount of funds. We must now turn our efforts to expanding these efforts and ensuring our workers are being paid for their sacrifices to keep our essential services operational.”  

Breakdown of the grants by industry is as follows: 

  • Healthcare $31.75 million 
  • Food Manufacturing $3.6 million 
  • Food Retail $4.09 million 
  • Social Assistance $6.3 million 
  • Janitorial $1.84 million 
  • Transportation $592k 
  • Security $1.8 million 

The full list of awardees is available here

To address the demand and make equitable decisions on funding of these limited dollars and to ensure that the funds were distributed in a way that reaches each eligible industry, additional factors were taken into consideration for final determination of awards, including the amount of dollars requested within each industry category; the risk level, in accordance with the OSHA Worker Exposure Risk; wage level of industries and occupations; and availability of other federal funding relief opportunities, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.  

The hazard pay grants were created through CARES Act funding directed by the PA Senate Democratic Caucus’ Pennsylvania Cares Plan. The caucus has prioritized directing relief funds to those hit hardest by the pandemic and continue to push for additional federal funding for jobless workers, school safety, state and local government recovery, and more.  

The Senate Democratic Caucus also successfully advocated for small business assistance, fresh food initiatives and many other people-focused aid programs in its PA CARES Plan. Learn more about those initiatives here.