Who will get the hero bonus? Governor says there's still more to decide

Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 18:04:37-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — This week, Governor Andy Beshear announced his intention of rewarding essential employees for working throughout the pandemic.

"Something that you could call a reward or a hero bonus," he said on Monday.

Some of the details of the plan are pretty straightforward, like where the money is coming from. Beshear wants the legislature to use $400 million from the American Rescue Plan for these bonuses.

However, other details are still unclear. For example, there's a lack of clarity on who is eligible for this bonus and how much they will receive.

"There'll be a lot decide," said Beshear on Thursday. "A lot to communicate about."

When it comes to how much money will be included in the bonuses, Beshear said it depends on how many people are eligible. He hopes to stretch the money out as much as possible but says eligibility will be determined by job and whether the employee has worked throughout the pandemic.

"The two years of the pandemic in that same job or for the same employer," said Beshear.

Eligibility will depend on essential worker status, which Beshear says is defined in the American Rescue Plan.

"We talk about it as being on the front-lines, providing the essential services, having a lot of interaction with the public during that time, and/or handling things that have been passed," explained Beshear.

The governor says it's safe to say, healthcare workers, teachers, and grocery store workers should be on the list. He believes there are others that definitely should be included as well.

"Certainly, I think manufacturing facilities that were open as essential - we need to talk about. Farming operations - we need to talk about. I think sanitation we need to talk about," said Beshear. "I think our folks keeping our electric grid up and running we'll need to talk about.

But he admits there are some jobs that will be left out. He used state government as an example, saying that while state troopers and health department workers should be eligible, some office workers shouldn't be.

"We have some other jobs - you know folks in my office that aren't necessarily there giving vaccines that probably shouldn't be included," said Beshear.

"And now, everyone in my direct office is mad at me," he joked.