Five Warren County businesses, and one in Venango County, will receive a portion of the $50 million in hazard pay grants for front line employees in life-sustaining industries, Governor Tom Wolf announced Monday.
Combined, the six businesses are set to receive more than $670,000 in funds. Statewide, 639 businesses will get portions of the $50 million set aside in a program designed to help front-line employees working in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania’s front-line workers put themselves and their loved ones at risk each day they report to work to ensure the continuation of critical goods and services for their communities, and hazard pay is an important opportunity to compensate these vital workers,” Gov. Wolf said. “It is undeniable that COVID-19 has put incredible stress on Pennsylvania’s economy, health care system and workforce, and my administration is committed to supporting our businesses and communities as we continue to navigate this global pandemic.”
Created through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this reimbursement-based grant is available to employers offering hazard pay during the eligible program period and will be administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
Grant funds can be used for hazard pay for direct, full-time and part-time employees earning less than $20/hour, excluding fringe benefits and overtime for the 10-week period from August 16, 2020 through October 24, 2020. Employers applied for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to 500 eligible full-time equivalent employees per location.
The program was developed in consultation with the General Assembly, Department of Health and the Department of Labor & Industry and in accordance with the Worker Exposure Risk to COVID released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
During the two-week application window, the administration received more than 10,000 applications totaling nearly $900 million, of which more than 5,000 businesses requesting $300 million were eligible. Of those, 639 employers were awarded $50 million in allocated funding, supporting a $3 per hour increase in pay for 41,587 workers across the seven eligible industries:
- Health Care – 63.5 percent ($31.75 million)
- Food Manufacturing – 7.2 percent ($3.6 million)
- Food Retail – 8.2 percent ($4.09 million)
- Social Assistance – 12.6 percent ($6.3 million)
- Janitorial – 3.7 percent ($1.84 million)
- Transportation – 1.2 percent ($592,000)
- Security – 3.6 percent ($1.8 million)
The Rouse Estate, Cambridge Warren and the Watson Memorial Home will each get a portion of the funds for healthcare, with D&L Enos Milling and Tire Service and Targeted Pet Treats receiving food manufacturing funds and Franklin Brothers in Venango County receiving food retail funds.
The Rouse Estate will get the biggest share with $287,400, while Targeted Pet Treats is set to receive $270,000. The Watson Memorial Home ($29,520) and Cambridge Warren ($28,320) are set to get just under $30,000 each, while D&L is looking at a modest $3,600. Franklin Brothers is earmarked to receive $55,320.
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.
“The demand for this program indicates the need for additional funding to support these critical front-line workers, who selflessly helped their fellow Pennsylvanians through the toughest times of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Gov. Wolf. “I support the Heroes Fund, in the bi-partisan Federal HEROES Act, which would provide $200 billion in hazard pay to life-sustaining workers. My administration is also open to working with the state legislature to allocate additional federal dollars toward hazard pay for additional workers and industries.”
A full list of recipients can be found here.