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Sen. Sherrod Brown proposes 'Heroes Fund' to raise essential workers' pay during coronavirus outbreak

The proposal would increase workers' pay by $25,000 until the end of the year.

WASHINGTON — Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown unveiled plans for the COVID-19 "Heroes Fund," which would aim to raise pay for essential workers across the country during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The fund, which Brown hopes to include in the next Senate relief package, would give essential workers a raise of $25,000 (equivalent to about $13 an hour) and would include a $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders.

"Many of the people in the service sector are overlooked in this country," Brown said in a midday press conference via phone. "They're the ones who keep our society together during this pandemic. If we're going to say, 'you're essential,' their paycheck should reflect that."

Under this proposal, any pay raises would remain until the end of 2020. 

During the conference call, Brown said that senators would work toward establishing a definition of "essential workers" for the purposes of the Heroes Fund, but specifically mentioned healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and those working in public transportation.

"Think about the anxiety they're going through," Brown said of people who still have to go to work during the outbreak. 

While this would be a federally funded program, Brown said he hopes larger corporations will invest to provide premium pay as well.

You can read the full proposal here.

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