In March, Governor Hutchinson announced a plan that would pay nurses and other healthcare workers during the pandemic. Since this cares act has been approved it includes EMT workers now helping everyone in the medical field.
“Particularly for me it’s already my supplemental income, but I mean it definitely just helps out because working at ASU, right now, we’re a little shut down as well, so it helps balances my kind of financial situation out,” EMT Ja’von Long said.
The cares steering committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council approved
$12 million will be allocated from the cares act to pay over 5,000 licensed emergency medical technicians or paramedics who are eligible for the extra pay.
“For a lot of people, you know but I’m fortunate, a lot of people in EMS profession especially private EMS services, they start off at minimum wage and some of it won’t go up,” Long said.
Those who worked 20 to 39 hours a week will be eligible for $125 per week, and $250 a week for anyone who worked 40 plus hours weekly or 150 hours monthly.
“I know that extra back pay will definitely help out and be a nice little bonus for people,” Long said.
According to EMT Ja’von Long, since the start of the pandemic, their call volume has been about the same. But they are taking different precautions like asking covid related questions.
Although long is a part-time employee, he feels the pandemic is a leaving experience for himself and everyone else.
“This pandemic kind of show that we have to value all our workers because you know nobody’s more important than anybody else and that we all do our part and you know when one of those systems kind of breaks down we can see how it’s affecting society as a whole,” Ja’von Long said.
This covers the period from April 5th through May 30 and the governor says the fund will be distributed to the employer who will then give the payments to the employees.