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Workers in one state are about to get $1,500 in surprise paychecks

pile of cash

Stimulus checks, as many Americans know by now, stopped coming in a one-size-fits-all form months ago. For some people, now that federal stimulus payments have dried up, the checks are coming as one-time payments from their local government. Some workers, meanwhile, are getting money from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan — which funded last year’s stimulus checks — as hazard pay. A reward, in other words, for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

As far as the latter, workers in one California county are getting those $1,500 payments in the coming weeks. Read on for those details, as well as the possibility of stimulus checks starting back up again at the national level.

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Who qualifies for hazard pay?

The California locality we alluded to above is Sacramento County, which in the next few weeks will start distributing hazard pay bonus checks to county government employees. Specifically, to employees who performed what amounts to essential work during the Covid pandemic.

Sacramento County workers designated as such will be eligible for up to two installments of either a $1,500 lump sum hazard pay bonus. Or, alternatively, 40 hours of administrative time off. The deciding factor will be the number of hours they worked since the start of the pandemic.

A few months ago, the county defined essential work as follows. It’s “work that is not performed while teleworking from a residence and includes regular in-person interactions with patients, the public or coworkers, or regular physical handling of items that were handled by patients, the public or coworkers.”

County employees who make $102,318 or less can get the lump sum payments. They can also opt to receive the time off, instead. Workers earning more than that amount, meanwhile, are only eligible for the time off.

The first hazard pay bonus will be available to a specific set of workers. It’s those who spent at least 120 hours on the job between March 5, 2020, and March 8, 2022. The second hazard paycheck is for those who also worked another 120 hours between March 5, 2020, and May 1, 2022.

More stimulus checks

stimulus check with cash
Cash is shown against the backdrop of a stimulus check. Image source: Jeff McCollough/Adobe

This also comes as some members of Congress are trying to figure out if and how more stimulus checks are possible from the national level. Congress members like Republican US Senator Mitt Romney, who’s working on his own proposal along these lines. Its goal: To re-up the monthly child tax credit checks from last year.

With hazard paychecks coming in the next few weeks, Romney is working toward finalizing the language of his own stimulus proposal and introducing it in Congress. His Family Security Act would give families with children up to age 5 checks for $350. While $250 checks would go to families with kids aged 6-17.

Additional facts about his proposal:

  • Monthly payments would max out at $1,250 for families.
  • New parents could start getting checks four months before their baby’s due date.
  • There would, however, be a work requirement in order to get these checks.
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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who has been contributing to BGR since 2015. His expertise in TV shows you probably don’t like is unmatched. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl.