Portman, Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit to Ensure Businesses Continue to Safely Stay Open & Acquire Necessary Safety Measures

March 2, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the bipartisan Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act to help all businesses continue to safely stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the safety of employees and consumers through a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for 50 percent of the costs incurred by a business for increased testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting, extra cleaning, reconfiguring work spaces to adhere to social distancing guidelines and training and education on the on the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. U.S. Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) plan to introduce this legislation in the House of Representatives.

“As businesses in Ohio and across America work to stay open and accommodate employees and consumers, we must ensure the safety and security of everyone involved by incentivizing steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace through a tax credit,” said Portman. “The Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act will help by providing a refundable payroll tax credit to cover 50 percent of the costs incurred by businesses for increased PPE, cleaning, reconfiguring workspaces, employee training, and diagnostic testing. A successful recovery of our economy is dependent on both employees and consumers feeling comfortable going back and this tax credit will aid businesses as we wait for the vaccine to be more widely deployed. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this tax credit to ensure our economy can safely stay open.”

“Arizona employers are working hard to keep their doors open while protecting employees and customers during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re finding bipartisan solutions to ensure Arizona businesses can safely remain open, keep Arizonans employed, and continue growing Arizona’s economy,” said Sinema.

“Cleanliness and safety are fundamental to the hotel industry with respect to our associates and guests. Since the onset of this pandemic, we have united to ensure hotels remain among the safest places for business, leisure, events, and employment. The hotel industry’s broadly-endorsed Safe Stay guidelines were implemented to welcome guests and protect employees by bringing a new level of transparency and confidence to the hotel experience through enhanced cleaning and safety guidelines, including an industry-wide face covering requirement," said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. "The Healthy Workplace Tax Credit, introduced thanks to the continued leadership of Senators Portman and Sinema, is critical legislation for industries like ours, to help offset these significant, but necessary operating costs at a time when hotel revenues remain down 40% or more across the country."

“This tax credit is needed to help employers continue to invest in a safer and more sanitary environment for their workers and customers,” stated Tom Friedl, president and CEO of HOSPECO a Cleveland, Ohio based company. "This commonsense legislation would help employers cover essential cleaning and hygiene related investments such as training, equipment, and products.

“Leading retailers continue to make significant investments in order to keep their employees, customers, and communities safe. These investments in physical stores, distribution centers and retail operations have allowed American families to have access to the products necessary for their families to adapt to our new circumstances,” said Michael Hanson, senior executive vice president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Defraying some of these extensive costs recognizes the important role retailers play in the nation’s fight against COVID. RILA appreciates the bipartisan efforts of Senators Portman and Sinema in advocating for retailers for a healthy workplace tax credit .”

The Healthy Workplace Tax Credit will help businesses stay open safely while ensuring employee and customer confidence by:

  • Providing a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for 50 percent of the costs incurred by the business for COVID-19 testing, PPE, disinfecting, extra cleaning, reconfiguring workspaces, and education and training until the end of the year;
  • Encouraging and enabling businesses to take the recommended steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces;
  • Limiting this benefit to a maximum of $1,000 per employee for a business’s first 500 employees, $750 per employee for the next 500 employees, $500 for the next 1500 employees, $250 for the next 2500 employees, and $50 for each employee thereafter recognizing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Provides an income tax credit for expenditures made to reconfigure work spaces last year (March 13, 2020- December 31, 2020). Thus, allowing businesses that have already adapted to public health guidelines to receive a benefit on their 2020 tax return. The credit provides 50 percent of costs incurred up to $3,000 per employee for a business’s first 500 employees.

A copy of the legislative text can be found here and a one-pager can be found here