Coronavirus

HEROES Act: all the benefits for essential workers

The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act bill which among other measures, it includes several benefits for essential workers amid Covid-19 outbreak.

Estados Unidos
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HEROES Act: all the benefits for essential workers
ALFREDO ESTRELLA AFP

When the Democrats designed the proposal for the HEROES Act, their goal was to help all the people of the United States, including immigrants and essential workers who are vital for the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion stimulus relief package and this included $200 billion in hazard pay for essential workers.

Now it is up to the Senate whether or not to pass the bill, but they have made it clear that the it is “dead on arrival” but it will be discussed after this Memorial Day weekend. Even if it is not approved it is expected that the House and the Senate will negotiate another bill to send a second stimulus check to millions of Americans suffering during the crisis.

The benefits of the HEROES Act for essential workers

The HEROES Act has many benefits for so-called 'essential workers' who have been working non-stop during the pandemic. Health care workers and first responders, including police and firefighters, would be eligible for $13-per-hour pay bumps up to $10,000. This bump would be on top of their regular salary and backdated to 27 January, lasting until 60 days after the official end of the pandemic.

The bill would send $850 million to states to assist essential workers for child and adult care help, dated from 21 January of this year. Individual states would decide how the extra funding would work and could directly pay child care, as well as adult care providers or reimburse workers directly if they pay for care themselves.

Also included is the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program, structured to provide more health care jobs with student loan payoffs. Unlike the CARES Act, it would include disability and death benefits for public safety officers affected by Covid-19 while on active duty, starting 20 January 2020.

See also:

  • Unemployment benefit US: can college students apply for it? - read
  • Is there a payment for essential workers in the HEROES Act? - read
  • Which US states are reopening and which remain under lockdown - read
  • Stimulus check: will there be a second round in May 2020? - read
  • When do bars and restaurants reopen in the US? - read

The HEROES Act includes $1.3 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. Included in that is $500 million to purchase personal protective equipment and related supplies, mental health evaluations, training and decontamination or sanitising facilities and equipment for firefighters.

The bill also plans to aid police officers with $300 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment, as well as for the hiring and rehiring of additional career law enforcement officers. Democrats also plan to have tax deductions for Covid-19 front-line employees and first responders.