Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is proposing legislation to offer a pay increase to essential workers who are on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Utah lawmaker introduced a proposed bill called “Patriot Pay” on Friday. The temporary pay raise would give essential workers an increase of up to $12 per hour — which would be up to $1,920 per month — for the months of May, June, and July.
The pay raise would also include a 75% refundable payroll tax credit.
Romney released a statement about the proposed legislation dedicated to the “unsung patriots on the frontline” of the pandemic. The Republican lawmaker also reiterated the purpose of the bill.
Romney said in a statement:
“Health care professionals, grocery store workers, food processors, and many others — the unsung patriots on the frontline of this pandemic — every day risk their safety for the health and well-being of our country, and they deserve our unwavering support. Patriot Pay is a way for us to reward our essential workers as they continue to keep Americans safe, healthy, and fed.”
I’m introducing #PatriotPay because our essential workers—those putting themselves in greater risk on the frontlines of #COVID19—deserve our unwavering support. For more information on my plan to help ensure essential workers receive greater compensation→ https://t.co/NCznX3VgVc— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) May 1, 2020
Based on Romney’s proposal outline, the Labor Department and Congress would be in charge of determining who qualifies for hazard pay under the bill.
Although healthcare workers would likely be at the top of the essential workers’ list, the bill would also make provisions for food distribution workers and healthcare manufacturers.
Companies in the healthcare manufacturing industry have also worked to provide essential products being used to aid in the pandemic.
Essential employees working a minimum of 100 hours per month, making less than $50,000 a year would qualify for the temporary increase. The bonus would be scaled down for essential workers making above $50,000 but less than $90,000.
Romney’s proposed bill follows multiple other proposals for hazard pay. Lawmakers in the Senate previously proposed to offer essential workers up to $25,000 in hazard pay.