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Metro Council committee proposal would give bonus pay to essential workers | News

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Bonus checks could be coming to thousands of people who worked through the pandemic.

The money would come from round two of the American Rescue Plan. 

Metro Council’s Budget Committee spent Thursday debating several proposals from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office.

One proposal includes providing premium payments to essential workers who have been on the job since the start of the pandemic. 

Captain Lee Look with St. Matthews Fire & Rescue said, like a lot of places, they’ve had some COVID-19 cases but not much downtime during the pandemic.

“If anything, we have worked more,” said Look. “Anytime someone would be sick, that would create another opportunity for a spot to be filled. So, if anything during the pandemic, we’ve worked extra shifts.”

Look said in the last several months they’ve continued responding to dangers seen and unseen and received praise from the public.

“We are very fortunate. As firefighters, by putting on this shirt, we get a certain level of respect when we walk out in the community,” he said. “I would say, during the pandemic, it has escalated a little more.”

Metro Council is considering a proposal from the mayor’s office to use $21 million from the American Rescue Plan to provide premium pay bonuses for some essential workers.

“With the premium pay, we have broken people down into three categories. The highest categories are front-line public safety officers, police officers, corrections, fire and EMS,” Council President David James, D-6, said.

James said the proposal starts with $5,000 payments for those front-line public safety workers. 

“And then, a $1,500 bonus for those who spent some time in the office, some time out of the office, sometime during telework and having less amount of time out in the public doing that type of work,” he explained.

While they would be grateful, Look said his only request is that the council remembers to share the wealth.

“We’d be grateful for anything that they would give to us as long as it is spread out to all the essential workers,” he said. “I don’t want to separate the work that we do from the work that someone who stocks a shelves at a store, or someone that cleans up the hospital room after a patient leaves. I don’t want to minimize what they do by maximizing what we do.” 

If the proposal makes it out of committee, the full Metro Council is expected to meet and vote on the proposal next week.

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