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​Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hazard Pay Guidance
for Area Agencies on Aging

The Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hazard Pay Guidance for Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) is designed to assist any AAA who elects to provide hazard pay to AAA employees, providers/contractors, and volunteers whose duties place them directly at risk of exposure to COVID-19 during the pandemic.  Hazard pay is intended to reward and retain frontline employees, providers/contractors and volunteers providing services that are vital to the well-being of older Pennsylvanians. 

This guidance is an extension of the guidance issued on January 21, 2021 and is authorized until June 30, 2024.  The guidance can be extended at the discretion of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA). All Regular Block Grant, Block Grant Supplement, OPTIONS Services, Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding can be utilized for the payment of hazard pay.

Hazard pay is a supplemental payment for performing work in a setting that is rated as having a Very High/High risk of exposure to COVID-19. Those who conduct face-to-face visits and investigations are eligible for hazard pay for any hours spent conducting the Very High/High-risk aspects of their work.

Individuals who provide the following services/activities are eligible for hazard pay: 

    • OPTIONS Program services
    • Caregiver Support Program services
    • Older Americans Act services
    • Other social assistance services

AAAs should consider the following criteria in determining who is eligible for hazard pay: 

    • Risk of exposure 
    • Location and prevalence of COVID-19 
    • Supply of providers for the needed services

Using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Worker Exposure Risk to COVID-19 guidance, exposure to COVID-19 occurs in four categories:
    • Very High – Jobs with a high potential exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures. Workers performing aerosol-generating procedures or collecting/handling specimens from potentially infectious patients. 
    • High – Jobs with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Healthcare delivery and support, medical transport and other workers exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients. 
    • Medium – Jobs that require frequent/close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not known or suspected patients. This includes those who may have contact with the general public, including individuals returning from locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission, or who do not have the ability to social distance at their place of employment. 
    • Low – Jobs that do not require close contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public or other co-workers. 

AAA employees that are teleworking from home or are in the office are not eligible for hazard pay until their responsibilities require them to go on-site into a Very High/High risk environment.

No administrative fees are permitted for administering hazard pay.

AAAs have the discretion to provide hazard pay above an employee's normal hourly rate or at a set rate per each instance of a Very High/High encounter.  Hazard pay is in addition to any eligible overtime and other benefits and may not supplant any current compensation, nor may it displace any scheduled increases to current compensation.  Any hazard pay earned must be paid to the employee according to their regular pay schedule and may not be withheld and paid in a later lump sum.

Any AAA that elects to implement a hazard pay program must develop and submit their hazard pay plan to the PDA's Bureau of Finance for approval prior to implementation.  The plan should include a description of how the policy will be implemented and how hazard pay costs will be tracked locally.  Expenditure information will need to be available for review by PDA. 

The AAA is responsible for maintaining complete and accurate internal records regarding hazard pay disbursements to internal staff, providers/contractors and volunteers. AAAs are also responsible for validating a vendor's hazard pay invoicing.  Upon the request of PDA, the AAA will furnish all data, reports, contracts, documents, and other information relevant to the project. 

Proposed hazard pay plans and any questions regarding hazard pay outlined in this guidance should be sent to Rob Heinlen at 717-772-0192 or