How Employers Can Offset the Disappearance of Hazard Pay

Posted - March 16, 2021

As we recover from the effects of COVID-19, employers, our government and other entities are doing their part to help us all survive financially. This has taken the form of stimulus checks, relaxed tenant guidelines, tax breaks, favorable loans and more.

One of these efforts, however, has quietly gone away: hazard pay. It was a popular way to reward frontline workers for doing their job in the midst of the pandemic in mid-2020. But it’s slowly gone away and employees are now finding it challenging to pay bills. Is there anything employers can do to help? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Start Giving Out Bonuses

Hazard pay varied dramatically depending on industry, company and individual. Many frontline workers saw an increase of $2 per hour or so, while companies like Target gave frontline employees $500 bonuses. These have helped, but are either a one-time event (as is the case with Target) or are no longer an active policy (like hazard pay). 

You can reverse the effects of this by starting a bonus program at your company. Not only will it give your employees more peace of mind, but it will increase loyalty, attract new talent and incentivize production. You can also base it on sales or production to ensure you aren’t eating into your bottom line.

Improve PTO and Other Perks

If you’re not able to make a big financial impact on your employees, you can offset the loss of hazard pay by improving other company benefits. This could include extra PTO, more daily breaks and better insurance options. Try to think of whatever your employees value and go big, if you can. “The solutions (for offsetting hazard pay) are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.” By improving PTO and other perks, the system will improve.

Implement a Payroll Card Program

The above ideas are great solutions for offsetting the disappearance of hazard pay, but the one thing they have in common? They’re not free. The right payroll card, on the other hand, can be. Take Spentra, for example. With Spentra’s Money Earned® feature, employees can manage their bills autonomously and take control of finances again. By being able to access up to 50 percent of earned wages at any time before payday, it helps your employees manage their financial burdens better and improves their workplace happiness.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Spentra can offset the disappearance of hazard pay, contact us today.