Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2016 reviewing post-Sandy work by the Army Corps of Engineers. Defense Dept. photo

Bill offers hazard pay for essential workers, including feds

Senate Democrats are introducing legislation aimed at giving hazard pay to essential frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a call with reporters on April 7, Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said that they were introducing a legislative package to give essential workers a premium pay increase of up to $25,000.

Frontline federal employees would also be granted the new benefit.

"Gratitude is not enough," Murray said. "These workers deserve to be treated properly."

The fund would not only support health care workers but other essential workers such as grocery store workers, truck drivers and transit operators.

Schumer said that the extra pay would be equivalent to a $13 per hour raise for essential workers.

The added pay would apply from the beginning of the public health emergency through the end of the year.

The lawmakers also said they would establish an "essential worker recruitment incentive" fund in order to recruit and retain medical personnel and grant them payments of up to $15,000.

"These workers are keeping our country operational in a time of the greatest need," Casey said. "Healthcare workers and first responders deserve a special debt of gratitude."

Reader comments

Thu, May 21, 2020

I am a delivery man and I put my life and my family at risk being exposed to the public on a daily basis I do!!! hope they do something for each and everyone that is impacted

Wed, May 20, 2020 Maria VA

I too took the choice to stay at work I'm a residential/commercial house cleaner. Some of the women that I work with took the unemployment. They are getting three times more $ than I am working, I'm getting irritated because I'm out there busting my butt working in the mask and gloves going to customers homes not knowing if they're sick or not cleaning their house I feel the government should give us something for not quitting our jobs. Or at least match what the unemployment is giving out.

Tue, May 19, 2020 Eileen Lexington, KY

I heard that people were quitting their home health aid jobs, because they were worried about getting sick. Two people quit on this elderly woman. It only paid $10 an hour, but I took it anyway. First because who else will do it and I’m trained, second what if it’s my mom and third I need the money. I’m getting divorced, I just moved back home to KY, and I have 5 kids. Two are still school age, along with cleaning up passed debt. At any rate I never took the job thinking I would get anything extra but an extra check because it’s my second job and I work a total of 40 at one place and 36 hours a week taking care of my lady. We work from home at my main 40 hr a week job M-F. All of my jobs are helping someone, wether it be elderly or people with opioid addiction/mental health issues. When I heard my friends were making more than me collecting unemployment, I was somewhat disappointed. Here I am tired and still broke. What I didn’t do was quit either job to collect unemployment. I went to work and I’m still going to work because that what we Americans are supposed to do. Work for what we have, even if it seems unfair. Life is fare, because it’s not fare to anyone. It would be nice to be recognized for showing up even when we didn’t have to.

Tue, May 19, 2020 Cheyenne, Wy

I work for a hotel chain and was kept in do to my position while all my other workers were furloughed. I risk myself and my family daily cleaning rooms and dealing with quest not know who or what they have come into contact with I have to ensure the safety of the next guest that will be staying in the facility. We have had medical staff here so they can do their work in this panadimic along with patients we know have had the virus until they can return to their own states. We were considered essential employees when the gov shut down businesses but now I am not considered essential for the harzzard pay???

Mon, May 18, 2020 Harrisburg, PA

I’m a full time college student while working 30 hours a week at a grocery store. However, I was claimed on my parent’s taxes in 2018. Seeing that I was excluded from the first stimulus package, it was be amazing to receive a check for working in the midst of this pandemic. This money would do a lot for me, I’m hope I won’t be excluded this time around!

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