PITTSBURGH – In an effort to help essential workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Allegheny County Rep. Jake Wheatley is introducing a measure that provides some assistance. House Bill 2380 would provide additional wages to essential workers, including those making under $15 an hour and ban employers from requiring employees to use their “paid time off” directly preceding a layoff due to a health emergency. It also suspends all mortgage or rent payments for workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic beginning April 1 and ending one month following the end of the state emergency declaration. Landlords would be able to apply for lost rent during the period. It also offers forgiveness of student loans in full for essential employees who work more than 150 hours during the outbreak along with proof of essential employee status and hours worked. The proposal would be paid for by a general bond not to exceed $10 billion.