2 New PA Bills Will Give Frontline Workers Hazard Pay, Cover Costs Of Canceled Charity Events

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HARRISBURG, PA (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Representative Jason Ortitay announced on Wednesday that two new bills are in the works that would allocate money to fire and EMS companies to help reimburse costs occurring from the coronavirus.

The other bill will help incentivize frontline workers with a payment program.

“Many volunteer fire and EMS companies have been negatively impacted by the state’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” Ortitay said.

“These organizations rely in part on money raised through community fundraisers which have had to be canceled to follow mitigation rules. Without these important fundraisers, it will be difficult for some of our fire companies to have the money to stay afloat. Over the past 40 years, the number of volunteer firefighters has dwindled. We need to help ensure fire companies are available and able to respond in an emergency.”

In the first bill, $250 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be directed to the volunteer fire and EMS organizations across the state.

The bill looks to cover the costs of coronavirus-related expenditures between March 6 and December 31, 2020.

The bill will also give back donation money that would have otherwise been gathered at charity events throughout the year but have since been canceled.

The second bill is setting back $400 million for frontline workers looking to apply for hazard pay.

Frontline workers that qualify for the hazard incentive pay include those employed by hospitals or hospital networks, long-term care facilities, retail grocery stores, social advocacy organizations, licensed pharmacies, financial institutions, or police, EMS and volunteer fire departments.

“These employees have throughout the entirety of the pandemic continued to work and risk exposure to provide our community with critical services,” Ortitay continued. “This hazard payment in recognition of their increased risk of exposure is a way by which the Commonwealth will demonstrate appreciation for everything they are doing for us in the midst of a global pandemic.”  Eligible employees will be required to apply through the Department of Revenue and must have been working at the physical location; remote work isn’t eligible.

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