COVID-19 Federal Assistance e311


Workforce & Economic Development

Funding Source

American Rescue Plan Act

May governments utilize funds to hire staff back to pre-pandemic levels? If so, what documentation will be needed to support this spending?

Yes, the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (“CSLFRF”) Final Rule identifies restoring pre-pandemic employment levels as an eligible use of funds.[1] The Final Rule allows municipalities to choose between two options to use CSLFRF funding to restore pre-pandemic employment. Municipalities cannot use both options.[2] Municipalities must allocate their payroll and/or covered benefit costs by December 31, 2024 and spend such funds by December 31, 2026.[3]

Option One: The first option allows municipalities to hire public sector employees for the same positions that existed on January 27, 2020, but that were unfilled or eliminated as of March 3, 2021.[4]

Option Two: The second option allows municipalities to increase their number of budgeted employees up to 7.5% above pre-pandemic levels. Under this option, municipalities must document and complete the following steps: [5]

  • Identify the municipality’s budgeted full-time equivalent (“FTE”) level on January 27, 2020 (“Pre-Pandemic Baseline”).
  • Multiply the Pre-Pandemic Baseline by 1.075 (“Adjusted Pre-Pandemic Baseline”).
  • Identify the municipality’s budgeted FTE level on March 3, 2021 (“Actual Number of FTEs”).
  • Subtract the Actual Number of FTEs from the Adjusted Pre-Pandemic Baseline to determine the number of FTEs that can be covered by CSLFRF funds.

Under option two, municipalities do not have to hire for the same role that existed pre-pandemic. However, the additional FTEs to be funded by CSLFRF must have started working on or after March 31, 2021.[6]

Under either option, municipalities should maintain documentation sufficient to demonstrate that the costs incurred are consistent with the Uniform Guidance’s Cost Principles at 200 CFR Part 200 Subpart E.[7]

Last Updated: April 12, 2022

[1] Treas. Reg 31 CFR Part 35, at 179-180, available at:

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id., at 180.

[5] Id., at 181.

[6] Id., at 182.

[7] Id., at 180 and 182.