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Premium Pay for Eligible Employees Grant Application Opens

Bernalillo County has identified up to $5 million in relief funds to support eligible employees essential to COVID-19 pandemic economic recovery. Essential workers have put their physical wellbeing at risk to meet the daily needs of their communities and to provide in-person care for others. These employees regularly perform in-person work, interact with others at work, or physically handle items handled by others.

Bernalillo County will provide organizations, with eligible employees, one-time financial support to assist in retaining essential workers with a Premium Pay compensation of up to $3,000 per employee to a maximum of $50,000 per business. Note: for Self-Employed individuals, who meet all eligibility requirements, they may only apply for up to $3,000 as the sole worker in their licensed business. For example, if you have 3 eligible employees the maximum the organization will receive is $9,000; for 50 eligible employees, organizations will disperse the maximum request of $50,000 as $1,000 per employee.

Funds are available as part of the American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SFRF / LFRF, or Fiscal Recovery Funds). Bernalillo County has determined these payments are necessary expenditures for the health and well-being of residents, and responsive to the impacts of the pandemic observed among essential workers, namely the misalignment between health risks and compensation.

Funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Note: All businesses (with eligible employees) within Bernalillo County, New Mexico qualify to apply. Nonprofit organizations (with eligible employees) are also eligible for the Bernalillo County Premium Pay for Eligible Employees Grant program.

If your organization is not eligible for this program, please reach out to Bernalillo County Economic Development to have a conversation around other business development opportunities. Email:


  • A physical place of business located within the boundaries of Bernalillo County, New Mexico is required, including for mobile vendors.

  • For-profit or non-profit businesses who employ (any number of) workers earning up to $20/hr (or less, not including tip wages) in the following sectors/roles:

  • Health care

  • Emergency response

  • Sanitation, disinfection & cleaning

  • Maintenance

  • Grocery stores, restaurants, food production, and food delivery

  • Pharmacy

  • Biomedical research

  • Behavioral health

  • Medical testing and diagnostics

  • Home and community-based health care or assistance with activities of daily living

  • Family or childcare

  • Social services

  • Public health

  • Mortuary

  • Critical clinical research, development, and testing necessary for COVID-19 response

  • Educational, school nutrition, and other work required to operate a school facility

  • Laundry

  • Elections

  • Solid waste or hazardous materials management, response, and cleanup

  • Work requiring physical interaction with patients

  • Dental care

  • Transportation and warehousing

  • Hotel and commercial lodging facilities that are used for COVID-19 mitigation and containment — other hotels maybe eligible with staff that meet the essential worker roles

Eligible employees receiving the Premium Pay bonus must have been employed at the applying business as of Dec. 2, 2022 and be currently employed by the same business.

  • Must be employed for in-person work, a worker may not receive Premium Pay for telework from a residence, that involves either:

  1. Regular in-person interactions with patients, the public, or coworkers of the individual that is performing the work; or

  2. Regular physical handling of items that were handled by, or are to be handled by patients, the public, or coworkers of the individual that is performing the work.

  • Organizations may apply for up to $3,000 per eligible employee, up to a maximum of $50,000.

  • Funds must be used to directly compensate employees as a one-time compensation payment for their ongoing service during this challenging pandemic environment. The Premium Pay compensation must be in addition to a worker’s regular rate of wages, not to reduce or substitute compensation typically received.

  • Applications for Premium Pay must be submitted by an organization (including non-profit organizations). Eligible workers (in the sectors/roles listed above) may include contracted/independent workers.

  • Any subcontractors of organizations with eligible workers (in the roles listed above) should apply with their own application.

  • It is the responsibility of the employer/ business to deduct all necessary taxes prior to dispersing the Premium Pay to each eligible employee.

The application process will open on Jan. 9, 2023, and close when funds are exhausted. Grantees will be required to provide the Quarterly SUTA report(s) which includes the Premium Pay disbursement (ADD) or self-employed payroll documentation of the Premium Pay disbursement.

The following documentation is required in the application:

  • IRS Form W-9 (Rev. October 2018) (A “wet” signature in pen/ink is required) *

  • BernCo Vendor Master Request Form *

  • Either Active State Organization Registration (Articles of Incorporation) * OR Current Bernalillo County or Other Jurisdiction within Bernalillo County Business License*

  • Quarterly Unemployment Insurance Reports (ES-903A) for the available quarters of 2022* OR Payroll reports July-Dec 2022 highlighting the eligible employees and their rate of pay OR hand-signed or Certification of Self Employment form and copy of 2021 taxes – Schedule C.*

  • Updated and Current Property Tax Receipt, if applicable or Copy of Current Fully Executed Lease*

  • Eligible Employee Worksheet (Download Excel version here)* – Required for Paper Applications Only

*Required. Failure to provide items marked with * will result in an incomplete application and such application will not be considered until the absent documents are submitted. Note: For an application to be considered complete, all required documents must be submitted to the Economic Development Department. If you do not have this supporting documentation available in digital form, please email a note to that the information will be submitted separately either by mail or drop box. Applications will be reviewed and funded in order of completeness. The application process will remain open until funds are exhausted.

Additional Documentation (may include printed, signed copy of application by organization owner if online submission is being completed on his/her behalf) Grantees (who are not self-employed) will be required to provide the Quarterly SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Act) report(s) which includes the Premium Pay disbursement. What are SUTA reports? Wage reports, also known as quarterly contribution or wage detail reports, are the reports you file on a quarterly basis with each state, district and territory in which you pay employees in order to stay compliant with paying state unemployment insurance.

For any questions, correspondence, or additional information, please contact the Bernalillo County Economic Development department at: Alvarado Square 415 Silver Ave SW 8th floor – Economic Development Albuquerque, NM 87102 505-468-1279

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