When the coronavirus hit the United States, many retailers whose stores were allowed to stay open implemented hazard pay to encourage employees to continue coming to work in spite of the risk. Now those pay raises are expiring. While retailers are under pressure to continue hazard pay for front-line workers, high unemployment rates mean there is little incentive to do so. But some experts warn that there could be long-term damage done to companies who end hazard pay before the danger is really past, even though they may save money in the short-term.
Employers "may get away with that in a context of 11% unemployment," but it is "both unfair now and destructive in the medium term," Lawrence Mishel, former president of the Economic Policy Institute, said. Employees should be "compensated for risk." Eventually, "unemployment will fall and better employers will expand."