Whitmer pushes for 'hero pay' for frontline, essential workers

gretchen whitmer
Posted at 12:54 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 12:54:32-04

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Thursday her support for “hero pay” for frontline and essential workers in Michigan.

The “hero pay” proposal, which was put forward by Sen. Marshall Bullock and Rep. Cynthia Neeley, would provide one-time payments to essential employees for serving through the pandemic, according to a news release.

“Today we honor the untold sacrifices made by essential workers who stepped up for their families, communities and the state of Michigan by paying them what they deserve,” Whitmer said. “The hundreds of thousands of folks who worked through the pandemic to keep the rest of us going embody what being a Michigander is all about: You care for your neighbors, you work hard, you get it done no matter the odds.”

More than half of all occupations in the U.S. with a median wage below $15 per hour are considered essential.

Some companies – but not all – have provided hero pay during the pandemic to frontline employees.

The resolutions from Democrats in the state Legislature build on previous actions from the state, when federal dollars were used to send hero pay to a group of frontline essential workers in public sector-funded industries.

That included a one-time $1,00 for first responders and $2-per-hour raise for direct-care workers who provided Medicaid-funded care.