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Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, proposed a pay raise for essential workers on Friday who are braving the front lines of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The temporary bonus, known as “Patriot Pay,” would amount to an increase of $12 per hour in May, June, and July, according to a Senate press release.
One-quarter of the bonus would be paid by employers, while the remaining three-quarters would be paid out by the federal government. The measure would be funded by a refundable payroll tax credit.
“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,” Romney said. “Patriot Pay is a way for us to reward our essential workers as they continue to keep Americans safe, healthy, and fed.”
The bonus would apply to essential employees making less than $50,000 annually.
CORONAVIRUS VENTILATOR DEVELOPED BY NASA IS APPROVED BY FDA FOR EMERGENCY USE
For any essential employees making over $50,000 annually, the tax credit would phase out by $24 for every additional $500 in income, until annualized incomes hit $90,000.
The maximum tax credit is $1,440 per month, per employee, meaning a full-time worker could receive up to a $1,920 monthly bonus.
Under Romney’s plan, Congress and the Department of Labor would “designate critical industries including, but not limited to, hospitals, food distributors and processors, and health manufacturers.”
Employers will also have to certify that an employee is working in conditions that increased their potential to be exposed to COVID-19.
Employees must work at least 100 hours each month they receive the bonus to be eligible for the tax credit.
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As of Friday, there were over 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and over 63,000 deaths.