FRAMINGHAM – State Representative Maria Duaime Robinson (D-Framingham) today, April 16 filed a bill requiring all businesses deemed essential to remain operating must pay workers time and a half for in-person work.
HD.5031, “An Act providing hazard pay for essential workers in the COVID-19 emergency,” applies to workers in the private sector and serves as a companion to H.4631 filed by Representative Tackey Chan, which would provide hazard pay for those essential workers employed by the Commonwealth.
“With grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, and other essential workers putting their health and potentially their lives on the line, the very least we can do is ensure they are adequately compensated,” said Robinson. “We have always known that these workers are absolutely essential to our way of life, but they have never been paid in ways that reflect that. This is the first step we must take to equitably provide for our low-wage workers.”
The bill requires employers with six or more employees (including the proprietor) to provide time-and-a-half pay for work performed outside the home. The bill, once passed, would require pay to be given retroactively from the hour of the Governor’s emergency essential services order on March 23.
“This crisis has laid bare how intertwined public health and the economy are – and how absolutely vital working people are to keeping every family safe, secure, healthy and fed,” said Steven Tolman, President of Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
“There are currently tens of thousands of essential workers in Massachusetts reporting to the job outside of their homes, putting their health and the health of their families on the line each day. These crucial workers we all depend on are on the front lines of exposure to this virus, in too many cases without the adequate personal protective equipment they so desperately need, and many are still struggling to pay their bills. These brave essential workers deserve hazard pay, and we are thankful to Representative Robinson for filing this important legislation,” said Tolman.