Thursday, November 25, 2021
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States Non-United To Identify Frontline Workers And Other Essential Workers Who Shall Receive ‘Hazard Pay’

The fight against coronavirus has been brutal, and there were some heroes without whom we could not have tided over the period. The U.S. government had announced ‘hero pay’ for these brave hearts and suggested occupations whose employees or workers could be eligible for the same. The list included farmworkers, childcare staff, truck drivers, and even janitors amongst many others.

However, the states and local governments always struggle to agree. They have failed to agree whether only government employees should be eligible for the same, or should certain workers in the private industry be extended this benefit; or should it be kept restricted to the blue caller workers only and not include grocery store attendants.

“It’s a bad position for us to be in because you have your local government trying to pick winners and losers, if you would, or recipients and non-recipients. And hence by default, you’re saying importance versus not important,” said Rep. Jason Levesque, Mayor of Auburn, Maine.

Similar to Maine, many city officials have not yet agreed upon who shall receive the ‘hazard pay from the rescue funds that shall be forwarded to them by the Biden Administration.

6 months ago Interim Federal Rules had already been put in place to allow essential workers to receive additional payments of up to $13 per hour. The benefits were capped at $25,000 per team member.

The relief money is being extended to “prioritize providing retrospective premium pay where possible, recognizing that many essential workers have not yet received additional compensation for work conducted for many months,” especially keeping in mind those who work minimum wage and yet served essential functions during the pandemic.

Minnesota is also facing a similar dilemma with the $250 Million it has received from the government, to agree upon a division. They had also set up a committee to look and review the matter but were not much to avail. The state Republicans are inclined to offer a tax-free aid of $1,200 to 200,000 workers such as nurses, long-term care workers, first responders, etc. who were exposed to the maximum risk. Across the bench, Democrats want to spend a smaller amount i.e. $375 to 670,000 essential workers which include grocery store employees, security guards, janitors, and others.

Some states are also considering distributing some amount to workers in the private sector who might not have received an extra sum from their employers.

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