Congressman Payne Legislation Would Provide Frontline Workers With Hazard Pay During COVID-19 Pandemic

Rep. Payne, Jr. Introduces Bill to get Hazard Pay for Frontline Workers during Coronavirus Crisis   

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. introduced The Hazardous Duty Pay for Frontline Federal Workers Act on Friday to increase the wages of the most critical federal workers during this coronavirus global pandemic.

The bill would require federal agencies to provide additional compensation to employees who risk exposure to COVID-19 or contract it during the duration of this crisis.  These employees would include Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers who screen passengers at our nation’s airports.  More than 450 TSA workers contracted this deadly disease already and four officers have died from it.  The increased pay would apply to other federal workers who could be exposed to COVID-19 on the job, such as daycare workers and veteran health care workers.

“I introduced this bill because we need to reward the workers who have risked their lives for us during this global pandemic,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “The sacrifices they have made deserve to be recognized.  We have thanked them plenty.  Now it is time to show them how much we value their work and efforts during this public health and economic crisis.  I hope that all private companies follow my lead and increase the pay of all essential workers until we find a treatment for this disease.”

Rep. Payne, Jr. has been working diligently to help get life-saving aid to his constituents and all Americans during this difficult time.  He co-wrote a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a ventilator design that could help supply local hospitals in New Jersey and the rest of the country that the FDA approved a week later.  Once the design plans are posted online, local companies could download them and begin production immediately.  As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery of the House Committee on Homeland Security, he has been in constant contact with FEMA officials to press them on when supplies will be available nationwide.

In addition, he has voted to approve four coronavirus-related aid bills in the House to help the nation survive this public health crisis.  The most recent law, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), provided $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program to allow small businesses to pay their employees, $75 billion to health care facilities for protective equipment and care, and $25 billion to enhance the country’s coronavirus testing capability.

The first law, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), provided $8.3 billion to fund medical efforts.  The second one, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), provided free coronavirus testing for Americans and mandatory paid sick leave for workers.  The third one, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R. 748) authorized more than $2 trillion to Americans in coronavirus aid, including direct payments to low and middle-income workers, increased unemployment benefits, $349 billion to small businesses through grants and interest-free loans, $150 billion to state and local governments to help them handle coronavirus-related expenses, and $200 billion to support America’s hospitals and health care workers.

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