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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 15, 2020 12:39 PM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Honor Bonus for COVID-19 Pandemic Essential Workers
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to provide honor bonuses to recognize the hard work and dedication of all Pennsylvania’s essential employees – nurses, doctors, grocery store employees, transit workers, utility workers and others – who have kept Pennsylvania running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following every major armed conflict since World War I, Pennsylvania has honored the service and sacrifice of its citizens who defended our Commonwealth with a cash bonus. Most recently, veterans of the first Persian Gulf conflict have been eligible for payments based on their length of service in a hostile fire zone. During these unprecedented times, a new group of Pennsylvanians have risen to the task of defending our Commonwealth against total disaster, providing life-saving medical care while exposing themselves to hazardous conditions. Others engaged in transportation services, utility work, and food delivery, ensuring that the rest of us have food, water and electricity to safely weather the storm from home.
My bill would authorize the issuance of up to $50,000,000 in bonds to provide payments to front-line workers who meet eligibility requirements and apply for the funds administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The bond issue question would be submitted to the electorate at the 2020 General Election.

Payments would be $50 per week worked as an essential employee from March 19, 2020 until such time as the stay-at-home order is lifted by the Governor. Essential employees are defined as employees of industries defined as “life-sustaining” under the Governor’s order. While this is a small token of our appreciation, it is important to recognize the critical services provided by medical personnel, food service workers, and all of the other essential workers during this crisis.
Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation. Questions and concerns may be addressed to my legislative director, Kyle Miller, at kyle.miller@pasenate.com or 717-787-5970.