One of the challenges of the pandemic is that, like many things in life, the impact on the economy and workers has been uneven. Many are able to work from home since they perform much of their work via telephone and computer, and it’s not required for them to be in an office to do their jobs.
On the other hand, many workers don’t have the luxury of working from home. Our economy has so many jobs that require someone to be at the job site, whether it’s a construction project, in a grocery store or operating commuter and transit trains. So many must work this way that they’re often referred to as “front-line workers.”
Another term that has become part of our pandemic conversations is “hero pay.” This describes those who put themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus in order to do their jobs. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors recently decided to recognize their front-line workers, or heroes, with additional pay. Unanimously approved by the Board, $4.3 million has been allocated to provide Hero Pay for these employees.
Employees who qualify for this pay are front-line workers, essential employees and those who work with passengers. Over 2,900 DART employees are potentially eligible for the program. Employees who work from home, of course, are not eligible for the program.
Employees who qualify for the program will receive $150 for each week they worked during the time the State of Texas was under shelter-in-place orders, until the reopening of businesses at 25% capacity, which was the eight weeks from April 2, 2020 to May 31, 2020.