Premium pay isn’t simple. Here are some of the issues

Posted 7/21/21

Who counts as essential?

For Alvarez, it was clear: nursing home staff and corrections officers, who had no choice about going to work.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Premium pay isn’t simple. Here are some of the issues

Posted

Who counts as essential?

For Alvarez, it was clear: nursing home staff and corrections officers, who had no choice about going to work.

But there were also employees who gave up part of their salaries to help the county over the slump. Their salaries reverted to the norm this year, but perhaps some funds could replace what they lost?

And then there’s the bureaucratic-nightmare aspect of it.

Would it apply to everyone who worked in the office during the pandemic? A lesser risk for sure, but early in the pandemic, transmission and danger were more of a mystery.

It was generally agreed that those who worked closely with the high-risk public should get extra pay. When it comes to others, county manager Josh Potosek said, “It would be an administrative burden to try to figure out who is eligible.” Some workers were only part-time in the office. And there would likely be an audit down the road. Local dollars, he said, might be a better choice if legislators wanted to go that route.

More discussion will be needed on the subject.

All hazardous jobs are not created equal

Should people be given extra money for doing their jobs? After all, a federal bill for hazard pay to essential workers in the private sector was never voted on (see H.R. 8349). The center-right American Action Forum (AAF) says in a March 2021 overview that, in these plans, generally, employers are expected to fund the aid through grants or tax credits.

Some states and cities have taken it up; some haven’t. And the chance for hazard pay is receding as more Americans get vaccinated.

Perrello pointed out that employers received PPP funds to keep the businesses afloat. Large businesses, the AAF says, used it for their employees but hazard pay in small businesses was less common. “Where they exist, they may be considerably more ad hoc and focused on perks like meals and childcare arrangements rather than bonus compensation.”

If interested in a discussion of private-sector hazard pay, the American Action Forum has one at www.americanac
tionforum.org/insight/state-and-local-hazard-pay.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here