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Brothers and Sisters,

There has been a lot of questions regarding the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding over the past few months, and more recently hazard pay or premium pay as it applies to COVID-19 and the subsequent ARP funding.

As discussed in our state meetings this year and again at convention, these local fiscal recovery funds will remain available to cover qualifying expenses through December 31, 2024. ARP funds can be used by local governments in the following ways:
  • To respond to the public health emergency caused by COVID-19
  • To provide assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits related to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19
  • To aid impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality
  • For premium pay (hazard pay) up to $13/hour, not to exceed $25,000 to any individual employee, to eligible local government essential workers
  • For grants to eligible private employers to provide hazard pay to essential workers
  • To provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such cities/counties due to COVID-19 relative to revenues collected in the most recent full fiscal year prior to the emergency (for cities and counties in Washington, the baseline would be the calendar year 2019 budget)
  • To make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.
With regard to hazard pay, please keep in mind that any kind of premium pay is discretionary. Public employers do not have an obligation to use the funds to provide premium pay. You will have to meet with your employers to discuss this at the local level.

PFANJ local leadership in the “metropolitan cities” should meet with their employers to ensure that they have received funding from the federal government and request that a portion of the funds are used to provide premium pay to their unit members. Keep in mind that there is no requirement that employers use the funds to provide premium pay, BUT there are compelling reasons for them to do so: Firefighters, EMS, and dispatchers have worked throughout the pandemic to ensure the health safety and welfare of the public and to provide other vital services. They have done so at great risk and sacrifice to themselves and their families.

PFANJ local officials employed in "non-entitlement units" (NEUs) must ensure that their employer received their funding from the State. Failure to do so could result in the inability to later obtain the funds. Once it is determined that an NEU has properly requested the funds, PFANJ local officials should seek to meet with their employer to ensure that a portion of those funds are used to pay IAFF unit members for the work they performed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please see downloadable guidance from our labor counsel on the Premium Pay statute, as well as a database of all “metropolitan cities” for reference:
American Rescue Plan Act guidance on Section 9901 "Premium Pay"

American Rescue Plan Act allocation for "Metropolitan Cities"
Fraternally and United,
Steve McConlogue
President
Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey
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