COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” Proposal: Give more money to Nurses, Doctors, Police, EMT and even Grocery Workers and other Essential Workers

COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” Proposal: Give more money to Nurses, Doctors, Police, EMT and even Grocery Workers and other Essential Workers

NYC Senator Chuck Schumer on April 7, 2020 unveiled a proposal that would provide a temporary pay premium in the salaries of Essential Workers during the Coronavirus crisis. It’s meant as a means of rewarding and retaining those who are sacrificing themselves for the sake of our society as well as recruiting additional workers.

Included amongst those who would benefit from this are the doctors, nurses and other emergency personnel and others performing essential services such as grocery store workers, transit workers, and more. Basically limited to front line and public-facing positions and not any who are teleworking from home.

Two key components of the proposal include a $25,000 capped pandemic premium pay raise for those on the frontline which would be equal to $13 per hour atop regular wages for all hours worked through to December 31, 2020. The second component would be a $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders.

As far as retroactive pay is concerned, those who’ve been doing essential work since the Public Health Emergency was first declared on January 27, 2020 could be eligible for a lump sum back-pay of $13 per hour. They would continue to receive the additional $13 per hour going forward in addition to their regular pay for as long as the total is within the cap of $25,000.

Reading through the proposal, it wasn’t clear to what extent a differentiation might be made between a job such as a pharmacy worker, grocery clerk or other public-facing essential jobs as compared with emergency personnel. Quite possibly, we’re reading too much into it and presuming that there should be a differentiation made.

Senator Chuck Schumer:

“Thousands of New Yorkers across the city, Long Island and upstate are leading this fight and reporting to the frontlines of our state and nation’s pandemic response each and every day, placing themselves squarely in harm’s way to serve the needs of others,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “And this proposed ‘Heroes Fund’ would provide premium pay to these essential workers—the doctors and nurses, grocery store workers, transit workers, and more who are central to fighting this crisis—and would establish an incentive system to retain and recruit the workforce needed for the long months to come. Essential frontline workers sacrifice daily for our collective health and well-being, and I, along with my colleagues, are fully committed to supplying these heroes the financial support they deserve.”