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For information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services by clicking here, or the CDC website by clicking here.
Jul 8, 2020

Tester Leads Call for Hazard Pay for VA Employees on the Front Lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic

“Given VA was appropriated more than $19 billion in the CARES Act for the COVID-19 response, we urge you to implement hazard pay for VA health care employees regardless of current incentives”

In response to outreach from Montana constituents, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) are leading 17 Senate colleagues calling for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hazard and retention pay policies for clinical employees involved in the COVID-19 response.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the Senators encouraged VA to remove arbitrary caps on retention incentives and implement hazard pay to support VA staff.

“We remain concerned to hear reports that VA frontline medical employees still do not feel adequately supported to conduct their jobs safely – including having access to appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” the Senators wrote. “…VA’s recent PPE austerity measures risked the health of countless VA staff, and while PPE supply has since improved, essential staff are still in danger of exposure by reporting to work every day.

The Senators continued, “We will continue to advocate for hazard pay for workers on the front lines of this pandemic to recognize their service, bravery and risk in this unprecedented time. Given VA was appropriated more than $19 billion in the CARES Act for the COVID-19 response, we urge you to implement hazard pay for VA health care employees regardless of current incentives unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic they may also be receiving.”

At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee hearing last week, Ranking Member Tester urged VA to make itself an employer of choice for health care professionals. He stressed the critical need for VA to support current employees through retention incentives and hazard pay, in order to hire and retain talented professionals in the health care workforce.

Read the full letter to Secretary Wilkie HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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