Work in a grocery store, pharmacy? You may be eligible for Vermont’s next round of hazard pay

Vermonters who served as front-line workers during the the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring may be able to apply for a second round of hazard pay, Gov. Phil Scott’s office announced this week. 

There will be $22.5 million available to eligible workers, who will receive either $1,200 or $2,000, depending on the number of hours they worked and other eligibility criteria, Scott’s office said. Employers can begin applying online on Oct. 28 to identify workers who may be eligible for the payments.

Picked clean. Bare shelves at grocery stores like this Williston Hannaford on March 15, 2020 show what is most popular with shoppers staying home to ward off COVID-19.

The Department of Financial Regulation, in consultation with the Agency of Human Services, will distribute the payments, Scott’s office said.

“This phase recognizes some of the forgotten heroes of last spring: the people who kept us fed, housed our most vulnerable, cared for our children, and so much more,” Scott said in a statement. “I appreciate the work of so many Vermonters to help us through this once-in-a-century crisis and know we have more work to do to help families recover from the impacts.”

Who may be eligible for hazard pay? 

This second round of hazard pay will be available to some employees who weren’t covered under the first round, during which approximately $28 million was distributed to workers primarily in the healthcare and human services fields. 

Workers in sectors such as pharmacies, grocery stores, and certain retail stores will be eligible for payments this time, Scott’s office said. 

Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters at the Statehouse in Montpelier on April 25, 2019.

Both current and former employees who worked a certain number of hours for the eligible companies from March 13 through May 15 could fit the criteria for receiving hazard pay. 

Funds will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis until the money is depleted, the governor’s office said. 

Want more information?

Employers can attend a webinar on Monday, October 26 at 3 p.m. to learn more about the program, Scott’s office said. A link to the webinar can be found on the Hazard Pay Grant Program website, dvha.vermont.gov/front-line-employees-hazard-pay-grant-program.

Online applications will be accepted beginning Oct. 28 at 9 a.m.

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.