Legislation recently introduced in the House would provide hazard pay to frontline federal employees who risk exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus as part of their regular duties.
The bill was introduced by Congressman Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ). Known as The Hazardous Duty Pay for Frontline Federal Workers Act (H.R. 6655), the bill would require additional compensation for federal workers who risk exposure or contract the coronavirus for the duration of the pandemic.
Specifically mentioned in the bill are Transportation Security Administration employees who screen passengers at airports, but Payne says the hazard pay would apply to other federal employees at risk of exposure such as day care workers and veteran health care workers.
Payne said he hopes the bill will encourage private sector employers to provide hazard pay to their employees as well.
“I introduced this bill because we need to reward the workers who have risked their lives for us during this global pandemic,” said Payne. “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.”
According to the text of the bill, the hazard pay would be applicable from March 15 to September 30, 2020 if the bill were to become law as written.