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$200 Billion In Hazard Pay: These Essential Workers ‘Must Get Their Fair Share’

Published Sunday, May 17, 2020
by Terina Allen/Forbes
$200 Billion In Hazard Pay: These Essential Workers ‘Must Get Their Fair Share’

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The House voted last week on another Coronavirus Relief Stimulus Package that includes $200 billion in Hazard Pay for Essential Workers.   Now, the question now is will this money get to the Essential Workers who actually work on the frontlines or will they be overlooked?

Before now, neither political party had put forward a stimulus check or hazard pay package specifically designed to address the needs of essential Workers.

That changed when Democrats officially announced that the fourth-phase Stimulus Package would indeed carve out stimulus money to provide Hazard Pay for America’s heroes - the undervalued, underpaid and underappreciated Essential Workers.

What’s included for Essential Workers in the new Stimulus Package?

This is a $3 trillion Stimulus Package and it specifically sets aside $200 billion for Essential Workers in the form of Hazard Pay.

This Hazard Pay money is called The Heroes Fund and this fact sheet describes that the $200 billion will be used to “ensure that Essential Workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive Hazard Pay.”

Who are the essential Workers who could get a share of the $200 billion Hero Fund?

There are actually too many of them for the $200 billion hazard package to be meaningful.

At the end of the day, this phrase “Essential Workers” is just too broad and could include all manner of essential Workers and contractors.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has actually provided an advisory that outlines a wide-ranging list of 17 different categories of Essential Workers.

Here’s a summary of the different categories: Healthcare/Public Health; Law Enforcement, Public Safety and other First Responders; Food and Agriculture; Energy; Water and Wastewater; Transportation and Logistics; Public Workers and Infrastructure Support Services; Communication and Information Technology; Other Community or Government-Based Operations and Essential Functions; Critical Manufacturing; Hazardous Materials; Financial Services; Chemical; Defense Industrial Base; Commercial Facilities; Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services; and Hygiene Products and Services.

Looking at this list, all I can think about is the recent $359 billion disastrous rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that the Small Business Administration says was “designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their Workers on the payroll.”

In theory, PPP sounded good.

The program was put in place to help small businesses.

The problem is that most of the money went to companies with the largest revenues, the most access, the most power and the most connections within the political, legal and banking systems.

The money also went to publicly-traded companies.

In the end, the small businesses that most thought would be helped ended up high and dry.

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