ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Store-level employees deserve our country’s gratitude and appreciation for providing essential services to their communities. During this difficult time, the convenience and fuel retailing industry has provided over 80% of the retail fuel to this country, as well as food, over-the-counter medicines and a variety of other vital goods and services. Without these employees, supply chains would be disrupted, and the remaining economy would be significantly hampered.
The federal government can recognize essential workers for their continued service to their communities by including a form of incentive pay in the next phase of COVID-19 response legislation. A bipartisan pair of lawmakers, representatives G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Dwight Evans (D-PA), have proposed such recognition in the form of H.R. 6841, the “Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who Are Invaluable to the Nation” (AG CHAIN) Act.
The AG CHAIN Act would exempt the wages earned by frontline employees in the agriculture and foodservice supply chain, including convenience stores, from federal income and federal payroll taxes during the period covering February 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. The income tax exclusion would be capped at $25,000 for the covered four-month period and a pro-rated amount if extended. The payroll exclusion is limited to employees making less than $75,000 per year. This legislation could provide an immediate increase in take-home pay for these essential workers, in addition to what many in the convenience industry have already done to bolster pay for these frontline workers.
NACS is asking that you reach out to your members of Congress today through our Grassroots Portal, and encourage them to co-sponsor H.R. 6841 as soon as possible. Essential employees should be recognized for their contribution during this crisis, and our industry needs to ensure we have the workforce necessary to continue to serve our communities.