Who Gets Essential-Worker Bonus Pay? Hearings Focus on Federal Funds
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky lawmakers heard from the state's nurses, firefighters, truck drivers, grocery store employees and other essential workers yesterday in the first of two public hearings on how to distribute essential-worker bonus pay.
Gov. Andy Beshear has said he wants to use $400 million in federal aid out of more than $2 billion the state is expected to receive in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, said workers' input on how the coronavirus impacted their profession will be considered by a special workgroup as lawmakers debate how to divvy up the funding.
"The workgroup will be issuing recommendations to the governor about how to use this money, and may be part of his budget bill or may be a stand-alone bill when we go back into session in January," Jenkins noted.
According to the Kentucky Center for Statistics, more than three quarters of the state's residents, 1.4 million people, are employed in critical occupations, the third highest in the nation, behind Mississippi and Indiana.
Federal rules issued by the Treasury Department allow states to provide bonus pay up to an additional $13 per hour in addition to a person's regular pay, without exceeding $25,000 dollars per eligible employee.
Rep. Buddy Wheatley, D-Covington, explained bonus pay is available specifically to frontline workers who could not work remotely and who faced health risks due to the nature of their profession.
"All of these groups will have an opportunity to say what they want," Wheatley stated. "We're not going to be able to get everybody to testify. But we have left open the availability of written testimony."
He said written comments will be accepted through the end of December. Anyone who wants to testify or submit input in writing can contact Shellee Hayden in the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus office at email@example.com.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …