Nonprofits join governor’s call for hazard pay for essential workers

An essential worker at Malia Mills, a fashion garment factory that has been repurposed to produce reusable hospital gowns for frontline healthcare workers.
An essential worker at Malia Mills, a fashion garment factory that has been repurposed to produce reusable hospital gowns for frontline healthcare workers.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
An essential worker at Malia Mills, a fashion garment factory that has been repurposed to produce reusable hospital gowns for frontline healthcare workers.

Nonprofits join governor’s call for hazard pay for essential workers

Nonprofits and elected officials call on the federal government to provide bonus pay for essential workers.
April 23, 2020

A group of nonprofit coalitions has joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials in calling on the federal government to provide bonus pay of 50% to workers designated as essential during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The proposed 50 percent bonus would provide critical support for a workforce that is underpaid and disproportionately women of color,” states the letter, which is supported by organizations such as Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and the Mental Health Association in New York State.

Many human services workers are among those essential workers in New York state, including staff at homeless shelters, food banks and group homes. Human services organizations have reported staffing challenges since the coronavirus outbreak began as workers increasingly called out sick or faced child care challenges. Shortages of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves have made it all the more difficult to encourage employees to continue their work or to find replacement staff.

Hazard pay would allow frontline workers to get additional money throughout the crisis. But as of now, it’s not clear which workers that would apply to. 

Trump administration officials have expressed interest in offering such bonuses to health care workers. Congressional Democrats have also supported the inclusion of hazard pay for essential workers, with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for it to be part of upcoming coronavirus relief bills. But whether human services workers will be included in these future proposals remains to be seen.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
20200929