Health care and public safety employers whose employees worked to respond to COVID-19 will be eligible for hazard pay grant funding starting Tuesday, the Scott administration announced.
In a Monday statement, the Scott administration announced the hazard pay program authorized under Act 136 was scheduled to begin on Aug. 4, offering grants for employers in the health and safety fields to pay employees hazard pay for working during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Vermont.
The grants are available for employers whose staffs worked between March 13 and May 15, the first months of the pandemic when COVID-19 saw its fastest spread in Vermont and when much of the state’s economy and public life was closed to limit COVID-19’s spread.
According to Vermont public health officials, COVID-19’s spread had peaked in the Green Mountain State in late April, with subsequent reports from state leaders showing only a more limited spread of COVID-19 in the months since.
For those who qualify, Vermont’s Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program offers between $1,200 to $2,000 to employees who worked a certain number of hours during the pandemic and risked possible exposure to COVID-19.
Funding for Vermont’s hazard pay program comes courtesy of federal stimulus programs passed in response to COVID-19.
In a statement from his office, Gov. Phil Scott thanked health care workers for “their incredible service and sacrifice during this once-in-a-century health crisis.”
“Our frontline health care workers have done heroic work throughout this crisis, stepping up to serve their communities and the greater good, while putting their own health at risk,” he said.
Access to the program comes on a first come, first serve basis.
Organizations qualifying for Vermont’s Hazard Pay Grant Program include:
- Ambulance services or first responder services as defined under state law;
- Assisted living residences as defined under state law;
- Dentist offices or dental facilities;
- Federally qualified health center, rural health clinic, or clinic for the uninsured;
- Health care facilities or physician offices;
- Home health agencies;
- Homeless shelters;
- Nursing home residences;
- Providers of necessities and services to vulnerable or disadvantaged populations;
- Residential care homes;
- Residential treatment programs licensed by Vermont’s Dept. for Children and Families;
- Therapeutic community residences; and
- Therapy providers contracted by a home health agency or nursing home.
According to the Scott administration, the Agency of Human Services was working with a private contractor to support the administration of grant funds to eligible Independent Direct Support Providers.
COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease that, while mild for most, can result in serious health complications and even fatal illness for some.
More than 1,400 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Vermont since the disease was first observed in the Green Mountain State in early March. Fifty-seven have died in the state due to complications of COVID-19.
In his statement announcing the launching of the grant program, Scott encouraged Vermonters to continue abiding by state health guidelines, washing their hands regularly and wearing a mask, declaring it “the best way to support our health care heroes during this pandemic.”
“We all have a role to play to limit the spread so we don’t overwhelm our health care system and can continue reopening our economy and schools,” Scott said.
More information on the Hazard Pay Grant Program can be found online at the Agency of Human Services’ website at humanservices.vermont.gov.