May 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Romney proposes up to $12 per hour hazard pay boost for essential workers

Romney.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) wants to pay essential workers an up to $12 an hour extra for the next three months as a form of hazard pay for working during the coronavirus pandemic, the senator told The Washington Post Friday.

The big picture: Labor groups have called for hazard pay recently amid concerns that people working during the crisis are putting themselves at risk for the well-being of others. Romney's plan could see some workers make up to $1,920 a month extra, per the Post.

Details: Romney proposes increasing pay from May 1 through July 31. Those earning less than $50,000 per year would receive an additional $12 per hour, and the extra pay would gradually decline as salaries increase.

What he's saying: Romney told the Post the plan is "fiscally responsible but also recognizes the additional risk that people are taking.”

The senator noted that essential workers who make less than $22 an hour could end up making less money than someone earning the unemployment benefits that Congress recently boosted in recent coronavirus aid packages.

  • “That’s not fair, number one,” Romney said. “And number two, it would create an anomaly, of course, for people to be taking additional risk of their health and have someone else not working making more than they are.”

The bottom line: The idea has broad support in Washington—in concept. But it has yet to appear in legislation—$3 trillion so far — aimed at easing the economic and health hardships caused by the coronavirus.

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