Sánchez, Cartwright Introduce Legislation to Provide Hazard Pay to Essential Workers

May 7, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Reps. Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38) and Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today re-introduced the Coronavirus Frontline Workers Fair Pay Act, legislation to establish a hazard pay program for health care professionals and other essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the bill would create a dedicated fund within the U.S. Treasury Department to provide hazard pay funds to employers. Health care workers would receive a hazard pay increase of $18.50 per hour, and other essential workers would receive an increase of $13 per hour. Pay would be capped at $35,000 and $25,000, respectfully.

“For over a year now, our nation’s essential workers in hospitals, grocery stores, warehouses, and emergency services have kept this country running,” said Rep. Sánchez. “Many have no choice but to go to work, despite the risk of bringing the virus home to their loved ones, and we would not have gotten through this past year without them. The pandemic is not over and America’s workers continue to show up for us. Providing them with hazard pay is the least we can do.”

“Nurses, grocery store staff, garbage collection workers – these are roles we too often take for granted, but these workers maintained critical services throughout uncertain times in this pandemic. That’s why I continue to fight for hazard pay for frontline workers like them,” Rep. Cartwright said. “Although nothing can fully compensate them for the risks they’ve faced and the sacrifices they’ve made, enacting this bill would be important step to paying the heroes of this pandemic more fairly for their critical work.”

This legislation was originally filed by Reps. Sánchez and Cartwright in May of 2020. The updated bill would allow the benefit to run through the end of the employment designated COVID–19 Public Health Emergency or until Sept. 30, 2021.  The new legislation also expands the definition of “high-risk health care worker” to include all of the occupations listed in our 2020 Congressional Record Statement.

The bill text is available here.