SC senators considering hazard pay bonus for some essential state employees

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:08 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina lawmakers are considering hazard pay for some essential state workers.

Senators are considering a one-time bonus for frontline state employees making $50,000 or less a year.

The Senate Finance Committee signed off on the measure that would set aside about $20 million for these $1,000 bonuses. They said a little more than 14,00 state employees like health care workers, state troopers, and correctional officers could get this bonus.

Angelee Williams is a state employee. She said, “We’re going into this ‘dangerous’ situation having to serve the people of South Carolina. What is going to be done for us?”

Monday morning, the South Carolina State Employee Association released a new survey about working during the COVID-19 pandemic. They talked to more than 300 state employees about workplace conditions.

They said the majority of state workers they spoke with don’t feel safe and are worried about contracting the virus.

According to the survey, 94% of the state employees they surveyed believe essential workers should get some form of hazard pay.

Executive Director Carlton Washington said, “Think about it. When the Governor shut the state down, the only folks traveling to and from work and kept the state going were public employees.”

See more of the findings of the survey below. (Attached PDF)

Williams said she is hopeful lawmakers will provide hazard pay for essential workers. “Especially with everything we’ve gone through and how state employees have kept the state running. This should really be at the forefront,” she said.

The full Senate is expected to consider the measure, along with teacher raises and money for state prisons when they return to Columbia this week. If passed, their budget proposal would go to the House. Some lawmakers have expressed holding off on a new budget plan if possible.

The House is expected to take up absentee voting expansion Tuesday.

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