As many of you are aware by now, State and Local Governments across the country have split $150 billion in Federal aid under a provision of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The division of these dollars, made available through the new Coronavirus Relief Fund, is allocated to each State and governmental entity based on a specific mathematical formula that was created and made part and parcel to the legislation itself.  It is important to note that Governmental use of CARES Act money is restricted to:

  1. “Necessary Expenditures” incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. The expenditures must not have been accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of the enactment of the CARES Act (March 27); and
  3. The necessary expenditures must be incurred between March and December of 2020.

Distribution of this money is based on population alone and each state is guaranteed at least $1.25 billion even if its population share would indicate a lesser amount.  However, local governmental entities (in New Jersey County Governments) with populations of 500,000 or more were also eligible to apply for and in fact did receive aid directly from the Federal Government.  When this aid was allocated to some of our Counties, those that qualified based on population were permitted to receive 45% of the amount allocated for their population, while the State of New Jersey retained the other 55% as it also “serves” that County’s particular population.

However, in addition to the foregoing, for Counties that have a population that is less than 500,000 the State of New Jersey has the ability to retain 100% of their share of the federal aid.  Based on the foregoing and as of today, the Counties within the State of New Jersey that have less than 500,000 residents have not received direct funding of their “share” of the CARES Act money and a congressional delegation led by Congresswoman Mickie Sherill has been pressuring Governor Murphy to release a proportional share of CARES Act funds to each County with a  population of less than 500,000 as a matter of fairness.

At this point in time many of you are probably asking yourselves “What does County and State CARES Act funding have to do with me and my employment as a First Responder?”  The reason that we bring this to your attention is to make you aware that many of the Counties that have already received their portion of the CARES Act aid (Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic and Union) currently have plenty of funds available to provide First Responders with “Hazard Pay” that the Federal Government has deemed to be a “Necessary Expenditure” under the CARES Act.  Furthermore, should Governor Murphy release CARES Act funds for the less populated Counties they too will have adequate money available for the authorization of Hazard Pay.

To determine if the CARES Act funding can be used for “Hazard Pay” one needs to look to the guidance that was published by the Federal Department of the Treasury on April 22nd, 2020.  Within the body of the publication it states that “…funds that a governmental agency receives from the CARES Act may be used for “Payroll expenses for public safety, public health, health care, human services, and similar employees whose services are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID19 public health emergency”.  However in an effort to provide definitive guidance on this statement, additional guidance was issued on May 4th, 2020 which state:


“How does a government determine whether payroll expenses for a given employee satisfy the “substantially dedicated” condition?


The Fund is designed to provide ready funding to address unforeseen financial needs and risks created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. For this reason, and as a matter of administrative convenience in light of the emergency nature of this program, a State, territorial, local, or Tribal government may presume that payroll costs for public health and public safety employees are payments for services substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency, unless the chief executive (or equivalent) of the relevant government determines that specific circumstances indicate otherwise.

In addition to the foregoing, the April 22nd, 2020 publication provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of costs that would not be eligible expenditures of payments under the CARES Act. These expenditure examples are:

  1. Expenses for the State share of Medicaid.
  2. Damages covered by insurance.
  3. Payroll or benefits expenses for employees whose work duties are not substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  4. Expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any federal program, such as the reimbursement by the federal government pursuant to the CARES Act of contributions by States to State unemployment funds.
  5. Reimbursement to donors for donated items or services.
  6. Workforce bonuses other than hazard pay or overtime.
  7. Severance pay.
  8. Legal settlements.

Finally, in an effort to define “hazard pay” the May 4th, 2020 Department of the Treasury FAQ’s provide a question and answer regarding the same.  Within the document it states:


Is there a specific definition of “hazard pay”?


Hazard Pay means additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship, in each case that is related to COVID-19.

Based on the foregoing, if there was ever a doubt as to whether Hazard Pay was an authorized expenditure under the CARES Act, the Federal Government has definitively answered this question in the affirmative.  Therefore, if your County has already received its share of the CARES Act funding, the money is there and your Local should be seeking the hazard pay that you rightfully deserve.  If you work and live within one of New Jersey’s smaller counties, you too should be seeking compensation for Hazard Pay and hopefully Federal CARES Act funding will be on the way.

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.