March 18, 2021
State and Local Hazard Pay
President Biden recently proposed giving essential workers “back hazard pay,” and while he gave few details, this is not the first time that federal policymakers have floated the idea of mandating hazard pay. In a new analysis, AAF’s Director of Labor Market Policy Isabel Soto examines previous proposals from Congress as well as state and local hazard pay laws to explore what form a federal plan could take and — crucially — how much it could cost.
Her central points:
- Congressional Democrats proposed last year giving a $13 per hour raise to certain medical professionals along with other essential or front-line employees, such as pharmacists and grocery-store clerks, funded by $200 billion from the federal government;
- Seattle’s targeted hazard-pay ordinance, which requires only grocery workers receive an extra $4 an hour, and Maryland’s broad hazard-pay proposal, which would require all essential workers with income up to $100,000 a year receive an extra $3 an hour, mark the potential range of options for what a federal hazard pay requirement could look like; and
- On a national scale, Seattle’s proposal could cost employers up to $12.4 billion over one year, and Maryland’s plan could cost employers up to $238 billion over one year.