|Posted:||April 1, 2020 02:55 PM|
|From:||Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr.|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||The Emergency Relief for COVID-19 Workers Act — House Bill 2380|
|Times like this call for bold action, which is why I will be introducing HB 2380, the Emergency Relief for COVID-19 Workers Act. This is an unprecedented piece of legislation aimed at giving widespread relief to those affected by the global pandemic COVID-19.
As representatives of the people, it is important we respond to their needs during this time of crisis. I’m offering an extensive list of combined relief efforts particularly directed toward front line, life-sustaining workers, but ultimately all Pennsylvania workers.
First and foremost, the bill provides additional wages to essential workers. If an essential worker is making less than $15 an hour, they will be eligible to earn the difference for hours they worked during the health emergency. For example, if a worker makes $10 an hour, they will be eligible for an additional $5 an hour during that time. For workers who makes more than $15 an hour, they will be eligible for and additional $3 per hour during the health emergency. This supplemental wage will be available from the time of March 1, 2020 and ends one month after the emergency is declared over.
Second, my legislation will prohibit employers from requiring employees to use their Paid Time Off directly preceding being laid off because of the health emergency. This is a senseless and malicious practice that I would like to see abolished completely, but the bill will only suspend it temporarily during COVID-19. This prohibition will be in place from April 1, 2020 and end one month after the emergency is declared over.
Third, House Bill 2380 will suspend all mortgage and rent payments for those who have lost their job due to the pandemic. This would take effect for the time beginning April 1, 2020 and ending one month after the emergency is declared over. Landlords will be able to apply for reimbursement from the State for lost rent during this period. Any business with less than 50 employees who has not received federal stimulus money will also be eligible for this benefit.
Finally, my legislation would allow any essential employee who works more than 150 hours during the emergency to apply to have their student loans forgiven in full. The employee must provide proof they were an essential employee and must also provide proof of hours worked.
This legislation will be paid for by a bond not to exceed $10 billion.
Please join me in supporting the people of Pennsylvania during this challenging time.