Harkins bill would create hazard pay program for charitable nonprofit workers

Would compensate frontline workers facing COVD-19 risks

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – Legislation introduced by state Rep. Pat Harkins would create a new grant program providing hazard pay for nonprofit employees performing charitable services on the front lines of the pandemic.

Harkins, D-Erie, said he introduced H.B. 2931 to ensure that these nonprofit workers, who face the same dangers as other employees, are not passed over for compensation.

“There are scores of nonprofit workers on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Harkins, who is Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. “They are distributing food at food banks, operating shelters for those needing a warm bed, and carrying out other charitable services providing comfort and support to Pennsylvanians in need.

“Much like other frontline employees, these workers are knowingly placing themselves in harm’s way to help others, and we need to stand with them and support them. We can do that by making sure they have the same chance at compensation for those risks.” 

Harkins said that like the state’s original hazard pay program, his proposed grant program for nonprofits providing a vital charitable purpose during the pandemic would be funded with CARES Act dollars. Employees whose employers were approved would be eligible for an additional $3 per hour for a 10-week period.

The state’s original hazard pay program launched over the summer provided $50 million to 639 employers, resulting in hazard pay to approximately 41,500 employees. Harkins and other advocates have called for additional funding, saying the first grant program left many workers uncompensated.