Gov. Cuomo calls for 50% hazard pay for frontline workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged the federal government to implement hazard pay for first responders, hospital workers and others deemed essential


Considering the significant social media discussion generated by the treasury secretary’s initial remarks about hazard pay for first responders, we put it to a vote: Should first responders receive hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic? The results: 66% answered yes and 30% answered no.

There are several local governments already providing hazard pay and stipends for first responders. See the list here. Chief Marc Bashoor offered his take here.

Follow FireRescue1 for the latest news about hazard pay, like the proposed Heroes Fund, which would increase pay for first responders and other essential employees by $13 per hour.

Paul Liotta
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government Monday to provide additional pay to the frontline workers battling the coronavirus.

Cuomo called for hazard pay of 50% to those workers, like hospital staff, first responders, and transit employees, who have been deemed essential as much of the state has been ordered to work from home.

In this April 18, 2020 photo provided by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany. Cuomo has called for the federal government to implement 50% hazard pay for frontline workers, including first responders and healthcare personnel. (Photo/Mike Groll, Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)
In this April 18, 2020 photo provided by the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Gov. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany. Cuomo has called for the federal government to implement 50% hazard pay for frontline workers, including first responders and healthcare personnel. (Photo/Mike Groll, Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)

“Essential public workers are the ones on the front lines every day carrying us through this crisis, and we must ensure their efforts and sacrifice are appropriately recognized,” Cuomo said. “This crisis is not over yet, and as long as these workers continue to work and expose themselves to the virus, they should be properly compensated.”

Cuomo noted that many of the state’s frontline workers fall into more at-risk communities like the 41% who are people of color, and the one third who live in low-income households.

Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) said Monday that he supports a push for extra pay for those working in essential businesses.

“Workers on the frontlines right now are putting their lives on the line and making incredible sacrifices in order to keep our city running, our families healthy, and our communities clean and safe,” Rose said. “The least we can do is ensure they’re compensated for the work they’re doing under the toughest of circumstances. We need to do more than just say thank you, we need to have their backs.”

Congress is nearing a deal to continue funding a small business program as part of the federal government’s bailout efforts in response to the virus.

Cuomo, who reported Monday that the state had counted another 478 New York deaths overnight, noted the importance of assistance for businesses, but continued to call for further state funding from the federal government.

He also announced the “Reimagine NY” task force of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, along with other local elected officials, and experts on transit and housing.

The group will be tasked with coordinating local reopening efforts as the state begins to lift mandates on social distancing. Cuomo has extended his “New York on Pause” mandates to May 15.

“What we’re doing here -- as a general rule -- will determine our future,” Cuomo said. This is cause and effect on steroids. What we do today will determine tomorrow."

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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