Essential Workers Could Get Up To $25,000 In Hazard Pay Under Senate Proposal

Essential Workers Could Get Up To $25,000 In Hazard Pay Under Senate Proposal

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, many states have issued mandatory lockdowns, causing all residents to stay at home, closing down all non-essential businesses to contain the spread of the virus. Although many companies have closed their doors, essential workers, including grocery store workers, nurses, and deliverymen, are on the frontlines battling the worst of the pandemic while exposing themselves to infection. Now Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and other Democrats are proposing to give doctors, nurses, and other essential workers up to $25,000 in hazard pay as part of phase four of the coronavirus relief bill.

Essential workers may be able to get a $25,000 raise soon if a new plan from Senate Democrats passes. The plan would lead to the creation of a COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” to “reward, retain, and recruit essential workers,” Senate Democrats said in a statement this week.

The fund would provide $25,000 for “pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers” until the end of 2020. Workers would get an additional $13 per hour on top of their regular wages, capped at $25,000. The full raise would be available to people making less than $200,000 per year; those making more would be capped at $5,000.

The fund would also provide a one-time $15,000 hiring bonus to “attract and secure” a workforce to fight the coronavirus. It would apply to people who enlist as healthcare or home-care workers or first responders where “severe staffing shortages” are “impeding the ability to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“As the COVID pandemic has reached alarming new levels, our health care system is strained to the max, our economy is strained to the max. Doctors and nurses, medical personnel of all types are putting their lives on the line every single day to fight this disease and save others,” Schumer said on a conference call introducing the proposal according to The Hill. “For these Americans, working from home is not an option. Social distancing is not an option.”