As reported by firerescue1.com, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a fourth stimulus package could include hazard pay for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Mnuchin told CNN Monday that his department has not yet begun work on a fourth stimulus package, as it works to implement the third package passed by the Senate last week, but that hazard pay for first responders and healthcare workers is “definitely something we will put in the next bill.”
Mnuchin said he agreed with President Donald Trump when he said on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning that his administration was looking into including hazard pay for healthcare workers, some of whom don’t qualify for the checks included in the previous package, according to CNN.
The $2 trillion legislation signed by Trump on Friday includes several provisions with implications for fire and EMS departments, including $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, $16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile of PPE and medications and $100 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program.
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) said in an open letter last week that the package does not provide enough support for EMS agencies and providers, demanding direct funding to departments and immediate protections for personnel, including priority access to testing and reimbursements for childcare.
As you might expect, this could be major news for all New Jersey Public Safety Officers as first responders. In fact, our office was in the process of attempting to secure such hazard pay for many of our clients prior to this news breaking. Being on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis has put not only the health of Officers and other first responders in jeopardy, but their families and loved ones as well. If such a measure is passed, however, this would provide those officers with the compensation to which they should be entitled given the circumstances. As such, please continue to check this blog periodically to ascertain updates as they become available regarding this important topic.