As the debates over economic stimulus due to the current coronavirus pandemic, there is one group of individuals that need to be included in the conversation—that of our essential workers. They are the thin thread that is keeping our country operating and moving forward in these strange and challenging times.
Like other individuals in our nation, essential workers have just as much chance of falling victim to the virus as anyone else. And with them out there, on the front lines every day, their odds are even that much higher. That is why they need to receive the support and protection that is required for them to continue the jobs they are performing.
Essential workers are included to be: healthcare providers, meat processors, grocery store workers, postal workers, meat processors, warehouse stockers, and convenience store workers.
Across the country, these workers have continued to sound the alarm about the risks not only they but their loved ones at home are exposed to on a day-to-day basis. For this reason, many believe that these workers are due prioritized diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19, have a guarantee that they will receive healthcare coverage and provided the means of family support, such as childcare.
Although it is true that throughout the pandemic, many workplaces across the nation worked quickly to find solutions and put protocols into place to protect their workforce, however, many employers are still struggling to aid in the access of timely testing for their employees, as well as access to personal protective equipment (PPE). As a result, individual businesses and business owners have been left to find a manner to safeguard their workers, while at the same time not possessing the adequate means to get the job done.
In order to address the essential worker emergency, the focus must be placed on three goals:
- Any worker who is classified as essential should have priority access to both timely and regular testing for COVID-19, along with a policy of no-questions-asked if they should test positive.Essential workers, along with their family members, should have access to healthcare services, including those above and beyond the specific needs associated with COVID-19.Essential workers should not be viewed as an island. They will be in need of a support system.
In the early days, and since essential workers have answered the call, they were there when they were needed, and they showed up and kept this country running. They looked out for us, and now we need to look out for them.
Do essential workers need to be compensated beyond their monetary reimbursement for their services?