Congressman Tim Ryan Urges House and Senate Leadership to Provide Premium Pay Increase for Essential Frontline Workers | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Urges House and Senate Leadership to Provide Premium Pay Increase for Essential Frontline Workers

May 1, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer, urging them to  strongly support efforts to include a “Heroes Fund” in the CARES 2.0 Act, which creates a $25,000 pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers, as well as a $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders.

Additionally, Congressman Ryan urged both the House and Senate leadership in supporting an expanded list of essential workers, especially those workers who may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus on the job each and every day.

“As we continue turning the tide of this pandemic, we must ensure that those working where the rubber meets the road are properly compensated for the grueling hours spent exposed to this deadly pathogen. We must also promote recruitment so that our nation can not only build the workforce this fight requires but is prepared should things take a turn for the worst. It is paramount that we have acute clarity on what is at stake here: Americans’ lives and their livelihood,” the Congressman wrote.

  • In an April 7th letter (letter and press release available here), Congressman Ryan urged House Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy to support legislation that included hazard pay to supplement low-income workers, especially those frontline healthcare providers who are selflessly risking their own lives to save others.
  • On April 14th, Congressmen Ryan and Khanna introduced legislation to send Americans additional cash payments of $2,000 per month until employment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels (press release available here).
  • Congressman Tim Ryan is today at 1p.m. holding Virtual Press Conference on his efforts to provide hazard pay to essential employees (advisory available here).

Read the full text of the letter below:

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Speaker of the House                                                           Majority Leader
United States House of Representatives                              United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                       Washington, D.C.20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                                            The Honorable Charles Schumer
Minority Leader                                                                      Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives                               United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                        Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

While many Americans can follow the social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders issued in the various States and localities, there are others who are unable to do so. These workers honorably bear the task of keeping our country functioning by continuing to deliver the hands-on vital services we need to survive, despite the risks to their lives, livelihood, and families. They are taking care of us, and as their representatives, we should take care of them. In this regard, I write to strongly support Leader Schumer’s efforts toward including a “Heroes Fund” in the CARES 2.0 Act which creates a $25,000 pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers, as well as a $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders.

In Leader Schumer’s proposal, the definition of essential frontline worker for the purposes of both premium pay increase and the recruitment-retention incentive is the primary subject of debate. As I hear from my constituents daily, they remain concerned about their daily COVID-19 exposure, and yet they continue to be overlooked in our response packages. On their behalf, I want to bring to your attention that eligibility for the additional pay should include, but not be limited to:

  • Health Care Workers and Providers Along the Entire Spectrum of Health Services
  • Pharmacy Workers
  • 911 Operators and Dispatchers
  • Automotive Maintenance Workers
  • Nursing Home Workers
  • Grocery Workers
  • Restaurant Workers
  • Child Care Providers
  • Public Sector Workers (Including Police, Fire, Corrections, Postal)
  • Farmworkers
  • Utility Workers
  • Waste Management Workers
  • Transportation Workers
  • Warehouse, Distribution, and Delivery Workers
  • Sanitation Workers
  • Federal Employees Required to Report to Work, Including Title 38 Employees With the Department Of Veterans Affairs, Transportation Security Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration

Understanding that the above list is not comprehensive, we recommend inclusion of the below stipulations to the definition such that meeting any one of the criteria constitutes qualification as an essential frontline worker.

  • The nature of the job prevents the individual from adhering to any CDC guidelines published for the purpose of preventing the contagion of COVID-19.
  • The nature of the job prevents an individual from adhering to any stay-at-home order issued by national, state, local, or tribal government issued for the purpose of preventing contagion of COVID-19.
  • The nature of the job prevents the individual from utilizing COVID-19 contagion preventive personal protective equipment in the exercise of their duties.

By including these criteria, we cast a wide net that protects as many exposed Americans as possible.

As we continue turning the tide of this pandemic, we must ensure that those working where the rubber meets the road are properly compensated for the grueling hours spent exposed to this deadly pathogen. We must also promote recruitment so that our nation can not only build the workforce this fight requires but is prepared should things take a turn for the worst. It is paramount that we have acute clarity on what is at stake here: Americans’ lives and their livelihood.

Let us not let this pandemic divide us where we all agree: that we have a duty to those who have assumed responsibility for health and our lives. I look forward to working closely in the coming days and weeks to turn this fight in favor of the American people.

Sincerely,

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