Romney proposes $12/hour 'Patriot Pay' bonus for essential workers

Sen. Mitt Romney weighs in President Trump's clearing of peaceful protesters for 'photo op'
Posted at 5:19 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 19:30:09-04

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mitt Romney wants to give essential workers a big, albeit temporary, raise for the next three months.

Sen. Romney's "Patriot Pay" proposal would give workers who are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 a bonus of up to $12/hour for May, June and July.

For example, a grocery store employee who earns $10/hour would receive a $5,760 bonus from May 1 through July - an increase of $480 in each paycheck.

"Congress should allow critical employers to provide Patriot Pay bonuses to frontline workers who earn under $90,000 in essential jobs through a refundable payroll tax credit. This form of hazard pay would complement, not replace, an employer’s responsibility to pay their workers—it is designed to quadruple any bonuses an employer gives to essential workers," a news release from Romney's Office said.

The program would require those who employ essential workers to fund 25 percent of the bonus, and the other 75 percent would come from the federal government, via a refundable payroll tax credit.

The plan would require Congressional approval, and employers interested in participating would need to certify their employees worked in conditions that increased their potential COVID-19 exposure.