The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) have joined a coalition of 51 professional and industry associations to ask the Biden Administration to support the Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act (S 537 and HR 1944).
“As the United States continues to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control and reopen, it is critical to ensure that workplaces can reopen safely to help protect the health of workers, customers, and the public,” the coalition wrote it its letter to the White House. “For this reason, last year we formed a coalition to articulate the need for assistance to smaller businesses to reopen their facilities safely and properly.”
According to the coalition, the legislation recognizes the enormous and unexpected costs that businesses incur to create and maintain healthy spaces for workers and customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses need a tax credit to uphold cleanliness levels, improve indoor air quality, protect employees, and instill confidence in the public, the coalition said.
Further, the coalition noted National Safety Council data indicating that employers already have spent an average of $5,208 per employee on workplace safety practices since the pandemic began. Even with the Paycheck Protection Program and other relief, the coalition continues, many businesses and nonprofits still struggle and should not have to decide between safety and going out of business.
“The proposed tax credit is targeted, temporary, and would be available to business entities and nonprofits,” the letter said. “Despite the great progress the country has made in combatting COVID-19, businesses and nonprofits have and will continue to spend an enormous amount to ensure that workplaces are as safe and healthy for workers and customers as possible.”
The tax credit would help businesses cover the costs of:
- Cleaning and workplace safety-related costs, including cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing-related products; equipment; delivery/dispensing devices and systems; signage; air filtration solutions; and technology platforms or services related to preventing the spread of COVID-19
- Training, consulting, standards, certifications, auditing/quality control, monitoring, and guidelines or other similar information related to COVID-19
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Technology used for limiting or tracing and tracking physical contact between customers and employees in the United States and improving workplace safety and hygiene
- Other expenditures associated with maintaining a healthy physical workplace such as design and operational reconfigurations, including those necessary to comply with federal, state, and local guidelines, as well as industry best practices
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, state and local guidance, as well as industry best practices related to reopening safely all focus on requiring a combination of properly cleaning and disinfecting these spaces, personal hygiene practices, air filtration, utilizing PPE, screening and testing workers when necessary, and following social distancing as appropriate to protect workers and customers,” the coalition said.
Also, the coalition said that the tax credit is essential to reopening the economy safely and restoring confidence among workers, customers, and the public. The coalition cited International Council of Shopping Centers data indicating that:
- 66% of customers said that when they do return to stores, they are interested in seeing frequent cleaning and sanitizing
- 62% are interested in seeing more hand sanitizer and disinfecting cloths
- 49% are interested in seeing staff wearing masks and/or gloves
- 48% are interested in measures facilitating social distancing
“A tax credit would ensure that businesses and nonprofits already struggling financially can cover a portion of these critical, yet unexpected expenses related to COVID-19,” the coalition said. “We respectfully request that you consider the above recommendations as you evaluate and hopefully include a reopening tax credit in the next legislative package.”