Governor John Bel Edwards declared a statewide public health emergency on March 11, 2020 due to the imminent threat posed to Louisiana citizens by the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 13, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Act 12 of the 2020 First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature, which provides for a one-time hazard pay rebate of $250 to essential critical infrastructure workers.
The Louisiana Department of Revenue (“Department”) will implement and administer the Frontline Workers COVID-19 Hazard Pay Rebate Program. The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information on eligibility requirements, the application process, the rebate program cap, and related issues.
Eligibility for the Frontline Workers COVID-19 Hazard Pay Rebate
To be eligible for the rebate, an applicant must meet all of the following requirements:
- The applicant submits an application to the Department between July 15 and October 31, 2020;
- The applicant is a Louisiana resident individual;
- The applicant was employed on or after March 11, 2020, in one of the jobs listed in the Eligible Job Categories section of this bulletin; and
- The applicant was required by his or her employer to provide in-person services outside of the applicant’s home and was in contact with customers, patients, or the general public for at least 200 hours between March 22, 2020, and May 14, 2020.1 Call center personnel or persons whose jobs are conducted exclusively via telephone, computer or other remote or virtual means are not eligible for the rebate.
Eligible Job Categories:
Nurses, assistants, aides, medical residents, pharmacy staff, phlebotomists, respiratory therapist, and workers providing direct patient care in inpatient and outpatient dialysis facilities;
Housekeeping, laundry services, food services and waste management personnel in hospitals and healthcare facilities;
Long-term care facility personnel, outpatient care workers, home care workers, personal assistance providers, home health providers, home delivered meal providers, and childcare service providers;
Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, fire and rescue personnel, law enforcement personnel, and public health epidemiologists;
Bus drivers; retail fuel service personnel; sanitation personnel; residential, commercial and industrial solid waste and hazardous waste removal personnel; storage and disposal personnel;
Grocery store, convenience store, and food assistance program personnel;
Mortuary service providers; or Veterinary service staff.
For further explanation of the eligible job categories, see the Job Descriptions section at the end of this bulletin.
Independent Contractors, Self-Employed Individuals, and Gig Workers
Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and gig workers may be eligible for rebates if all of the same eligibility requirements are met. In the Employer Information section of the application, these types of workers must list their client, service recipient, or other type of payee, the address where the work was performed, and a description of services provided. The worker must also attach an explanation of how their services were substantially dedicated to responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications electronically by visiting http://frontlineworkers.la.gov/. Alternatively, applicants may submit their application via a printed form downloaded from the Department’s website and mailed to the address on the form.
Once the application is submitted, the Department will review the applicant’s information and verify it against available employment and tax return data. For expedited rebate payments, applicants are requested to submit employer pay stubs for the pay periods from March 22 through May 14. Before issuing a rebate, the Department may send a request by mail for additional information. The applicant should review the letter carefully and respond as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary delays.
Applicants may request direct deposit of the rebate by completing the required banking information on the application. If banking information is not provided, unreadable, or incomplete, the rebate payment will be issued by paper check.
Rebate Program Cap
The Department urges all eligible frontline workers to apply for their rebate as soon as possible. Based on current program funding, the rebates are limited to the first 200,000 applicants. While additional funding may become available later, there is no guarantee that each applicant will receive a disbursement, as rebates are approved on a first-come, first- served basis.
Rebates are generally exempt from seizure by creditors. However, the Department will reduce a rebate payment for outstanding child support obligations as reported by the Department of Children and Family Services or for spousal support obligations.
For additional information on the Frontline Workers COVID-19 Hazard Pay Rebate Program, please visit http://frontlineworkers.la.gov/, review the Department’s Emergency Rule in LAC 61:I.1919, or contact the Department at (855) 307-3893.
1 Per LAC 61:I.1919, applicants will be presumed to have been responding to or mitigating the COVID-19 public health emergency as required by LA R.S. 47:1787(K) if the applicant meets all other requirements. This presumption is rebuttable by evidence or documentation obtained from the applicant’s employer.
A Revenue Information Bulletin (RIB) is issued under the authority of LAC 61:III.101.D. A RIB is an informal statement of information issued for the public and employees that is general in nature. A RIB does not have the force and effect of law and is not binding on the public or the Department.