Wheatley: Bill would provide emergency relief to affected workers during COVID-19 pandemic

PITTSBURGH, April 2 – In an effort to provide widespread help to essential workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has introduced a measure that would provide multiple levels of assistance.

Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said H.B. 2380 would include the following:

  • Provide additional wages to essential workers, including those who make less than $15 an hour.
  • Ban employers from requiring employees to use their Paid Time Off directly preceding a layoff due to a health emergency.
  • Suspend all mortgage and rent payments for workers who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic (beginning April 1, 2020, and ending one month following the end of the state emergency declaration). Landlords would be able to apply for reimbursement for lost rent during this period.
  • Forgiveness of student loans in full for essential employees who work more than 150 hours during the outbreak (with proof of essential employee status and hours worked).

The legislation would be paid for by a general bond not to exceed $10 billion, Wheatley added.

“Right now, we are living in unprecedented, uncertain times, and it’s vital we take action and respond to the immediate needs of residents who have been impacted by this pandemic, due to their work or the loss of their jobs,” Wheatley said. “We have an opportunity to provide and support thousands of Pennsylvanians during this challenging time, and I urge my colleagues to consider supporting my bill.”

More information about his legislation, which already has several co-sponsors, can be found here.