Democrats Call For Coronavirus Hazard Pay In Next Relief Bill

Adrian Ovalle

Democratic senators unveiled a plan Tuesday to offer front-line staff with hazard pay throughout the pandemic, arguing that the hazards of the coronavirus name for greater wages.

“We are asking these workers to take on great risk. They should be compensated for it,” Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) mentioned on a name with reporters.

The Democratic proposal would apply not simply to well being care staff battling the virus however to many others thought-about to be important: grocery retailer clerks, bus drivers, truck drivers, pharmacists, sanitation staff and others.

Eligible staff would get a lift of $13 per hour on prime of their regular wages, retroactive to the start of the pandemic and thru the tip of this yr. The premium could be capped at $25,000 for these incomes below $200,000 per yr and at $5,000 for these incomes more. 

The plan additionally features a one-time incentive cost of $15,000 for brand spanking new staff who sign on to work in well being care, home care and emergency response throughout the pandemic. 

A white paper launched by Democrats mentioned the federal authorities would absolutely fund each the hazard pay and incentive funds, although it didn’t embrace a price estimate for the program. The doc famous that the full universe of important staff eligible beneath the plan hadn’t been decided but.

Schumer mentioned the hazard pay plan, which he dubbed a “Heroes Fund,” is likely one of the “very highest priorities” that Democrats need to see within the next section of coronavirus stimulus laws. 

“For these Americans, working at home is not an option. Social distancing is not an option,” he mentioned. “They are in the line of fire day in and day out.”

A hazard pay premium has grow to be a rallying cry for staff nonetheless clocking in throughout the pandemic. Many individuals have already been contaminated or died from the coronavirus doubtless contracted by way of their jobs, from medical doctors and nurses to retail staff. Some grocery retailer chains have added a $2 premium to hourly pay however many staff say the rise is inadequate given the hazards.

“Whether they’re grocery store workers or postal workers or sanitation workers or more, they’re keeping our country operational in this greatest time of need,” mentioned Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). “And of course our health care workers and first responders deserve a special debt of gratitude.”

Hazard pay is only one proposal that Democrats are discussing as a part of a fourth coronavirus reduction invoice, anticipated to advance later this month. Republicans, in the meantime, are calling for extra billions of {dollars} in help to small companies which are struggling amid the disaster. 

The $2.2 trillion rescue package deal that Congress handed final month included $350 billion in forgivable loans to small companies, however that money is rapidly working out. Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) mentioned Tuesday that he hoped to get unanimous settlement to replenish the fund with one other $250 billion later this week. 

It’s unclear, nonetheless, if Democrats will rapidly assent to the brand new funds with out a dedication on hazard pay for important staff within the next round of negotiations. McConnell and Schumer had not but mentioned the matter on Tuesday, in keeping with a Schumer spokesman.

A HuffPost Information To Coronavirus

Calling all HuffPost superfans!

Join membership to grow to be a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s next chapter

The post Democrats Call For Coronavirus Hazard Pay In Next Relief Bill appeared first on World Weekly News.