Illustration for article titled Senate Democrats Propose COVID-13 ‘Heroes Fund’ to Give Essential Workers $25,000 Raise
Photo: STR/AFP (Getty Images)

Essential workers like nurses, grocery store employees and transit workers are on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic by providing services that are vital to people’s everyday needs, and now, the Senate is working to compensate them for putting their own lives on the line.

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According to Business Insider, Senate Democrats are proposing a plan that could get these workers a $25,000 raise for their services. It’s called the COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” and it’s designed not only to reward essential workers but also to retain and recruit them as well.

“Essential frontline workers are the true heroes of America’s COVID-19 pandemic response,” the proposal reads. “Senate Democrats believe in providing premium pay to frontline workers during this pandemic to reward essential frontline workers, ensure the retention of essential workers who are working grueling hours on the frontlines of this crisis, and promote the recruitment of additional workers who will be needed in the months ahead.”

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that the $25,000 would be provided as a “pandemic premium pay increase” that workers will receive until the end of 2020, according to BI.

Essential workers set to receive the increase 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 in bonus pay.

In addition to the pay increase, the fund will also offer a $15,000 “recruitment incentive” to get people to enlist to work as “health and home care workers and first responders to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.”

The proposal also includes provisions for federal employees such as Postal Service and TSA workers and is intended to be part of a potential fourth coronavirus bill that would only need to be approved by President Trump and Congressional Republicans for it to come to fruition.

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These workers never asked to be heroes but they certainly have been and continue to be as the global crisis rages on. Seeing to it that they are compensated financially is the least that can be done.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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