Essential frontline workers including nurses and grocery-store employees could get a $25,000 raise if a new plan from Senate Democrats becomes law.
The plan calls for the creation of a COVID-19 "Heroes Fund" to "reward, retain, and recruit essential workers," Senate Democrats said in a statement on Tuesday.
The fund would provide a $25,000 "pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers" until the end of 2020. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said doctors, nurses, grocery-store workers, and transit workers are among those who could benefit, though the plan leaves room to include more.
Those essential workers would get an additional $13 per hour on top of their regular wages, capped at $25,000. The full raise would be available to people making less than $200,000 per year; those making more would be capped at $5,000.
The fund would also provide a one-time $15,000 hiring bonus to "attract and secure" a workforce to fight the coronavirus. It would apply to people who enlist as healthcare or home-care workers or first responders where "severe staffing shortages" are "impeding the ability to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The plan includes provisions for federal employees such as Postal Service and Transportation Security Administration workers to receive the premium.
Details of the plan are subject to change, as it is intended to be a part of a fourth coronavirus bill and would need to be approved by congressional Republicans and the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated she would support another stimulus package and said last week that she'd like to send more direct payments as part of the next bill.