Peters wants $13/hour bonus for frontline workers during COVID-19 crisis

    Don Murray, Getty Images

    Workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 could receive a pay increase of $13 per hour under a plan from U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.). 

    “Whether it’s health care providers and food supply workers in the private sector, or postal workers and security professionals in the public sector, we owe our frontline workers our thanks and our support,” Peters said in a press release.

    U.S. Sen. Gary Peters | Michael Gerstein photo

    The “COVID-19 Heroes Fund” includes a $25,000 premium pay increase for essential health care workers from now to the end of the year. Across the country, a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive would be offered to retain and recruit workers during the pandemic. Much like a signing bonus, this incentive acts to help facilities fill gaps in their staffs as a shortage of health care workers becomes a national issue.

    Eligible workers already on the frontlines would be able to receive compensation for their work before the fund is put in place.

    The premium for essential workers earning less than $200,000 a year would be capped at $25,000. The cap would be $5,000 for workers earning $200,000 or more.

    Health care workers all over the country are fighting COVID-19, sometimes without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) due to shortages. Michigan had 20,346 cases of COVID-19 and 959 deaths as of Wednesday. 

    Working through a pandemic: Many health care workers face health risks, can’t take time off

    The Heroes Fund isn’t just for health care workers. Those eligible for funding include postal service workers, home care workers, grocery store workers and any other worker performing necessary response functions to keep residents safe.

    “So many people are working hard and performing essential duties to help our communities confront this pandemic, and they deserve to be compensated for their dedication,” Peters said in a press release. “This proposal not only addresses the financial needs of these essential workers, it also presses for additional protective gear and other measures that will help ensure they can continue to perform their critical roles while protecting their health and safety.”

    Anna Liz Nichols
    Anna Liz Nichols is a former Michigan Advance intern. She is a Michigan State University graduate who has reported for several publications, including MLive and Michigan State University’s award-winning student paper, the State News, where she covered the many tendrils of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.