Essential Worker Compensation Fund Proposed

Lawmakers seek a 9/11-style fund to pay for pandemic-related medical costs and other losses.

May 29, 2020

WASHINGTON—U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would compensate essential workers who became ill or died from COVID-19 while performing their on-the-job duties, reports

The Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act would establish a fund for those individuals who were required to provide products or services deemed essential during the pandemic, including first responders, health-care workers, convenience store and grocery store employees, delivery drivers, janitorial staff and transit workers.

A summary detailing the bill’s provisions indicated that funds would be appropriated for five years, as needed, to assist with medical costs, loss of employment or business and burial costs. A website would be set up to facilitate with the application process.

Claimants would be required to provide information about the extent of their loss, and eligible individuals would receive compensation no later than 20 days after their approval, according to the bill. Family members at home with essential workers, who then became sick through contact, would also be eligible to apply.

The legislation has not been scheduled for debate on the floor of the Senate yet. The proposal was modeled after a fund for people whose health was affected by the response to the September 11 terror attacks.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.