What is Hazard pay?

This is a payment that is made in addition to a worker’s regular salary as a bonus for accepting a job assignment that is hazardous or causes extreme physical discomfort that cannot be avoided by following guidelines or using protective devices.

When Does Hazard Pay Apply?

An employee can get hazard pay when they are doing:

  • Hazardous tasks or jobs (physically demanding, working around contagious illness, etc.)
  • Tasks in dangerous locations (working with hazardous waste, washing skyscraper windows, etc.)
  • Jobs with extreme distress (working with violent minors)
  • Jobs with extreme physical discomfort (logging trees, deep-sea fishing, steelworkers)

Many jobs provide protective devices, safety gear, safety precautions, and relevant counseling for these types of situations. When work is adequately alleviated by protective devices, that work is generally not subject to hazard pay. When a serious risk remains, hazard pay is common.

Hazard pay can also apply temporarily during pandemics or natural disasters. Like we had for medical practitioners handling sick patients during the covid.  There are no laws making hazard pay mandatory. hazard pay counts towards a person’s regular pay, instead of counting toward their overtime pay.

Hazard pay is often applied as a premium; for example, an employer might agree to pay a 10% premium when an employee works under hazardous conditions. For those hours, the employee would earn 10% more money than their normal hourly wage. Alternatively, hazard pay may be issued at a flat rate—for example, $250 per month.

An employee will generally only receive hazardous duty pay for the hours worked in hazardous conditions. For example, if an employee works an eight-hour shift and four of those hours are spent in an air-conditioned office while four are spent doing construction in 100-degree heat, only the hours worked in the high-heat conditions will be at the hazard pay rate.

Industries viewed as hazardous: 

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Mines
  • Construction sites
  • Dangerous or extreme weather
  • War zones
  • Hostile locations

There are several Jobs you may not view as hazardous and can become risky during illness, war, or natural disasters. These types of employment may be considered dangerous because they are “essential services” and must stay open:

  • Grocery stores
  • Trash, recycling, water, and sewage
  • Other essential service workers
  • Banks
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians
  • Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals
  • Government employees
  • Customs officers
  • Police and security
  • Airplanes, trains, taxis, and buses. 

Generally, most companies either have a policy in place already, or they do not offer hazard pay. Anyone who does a risky job can ask their manager for hazard pay.

Unions and other organizations can also organize efforts to demand hazard pay. Winning the request for hazard pay depends on the situation and the managers or companies involved.


As a HR professional, when hired into a new organization, you must take time to understand the business and the job positions in them you can make a proposal for a hazard pay for certain job positions and also create employee policy on hazard. Hazard pay is not legally required of any employer. It is most often a benefit.

If you are hiring, Transferring or promoting an employee to do a hazardous work, you must brief that employee on the type of work they will be doing, the risks involved, and the rate of pay before they begin the work. If an employee suffers accidental injury or death because they were not briefed on the hazardous conditions, the employer could be held responsible.

Therefore, it’s in the employer and HR’s best interest to give the worker as much information as possible before they begin hazardous work.

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