Pope Francis: Governments and companies should pay wages in response to COVID-19

Pope Francis expressed support for a universal basic wage during the coronavirus crisis in an Easter letter he wrote to representatives of social movements and organizations worldwide.

“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out,” the pope wrote. “It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.”

He express sympathy that during the pandemic “The ills that afflict everyone hit you twice as hard….[and that]  the lockdowns are becoming unbearable.”

Pope Francis based his support for a universal income on the fact that  “Many of you live from day to day, without any type of legal guarantee to protect you. Street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers… you who are informal, working on your own or in the grassroots economy, you have no steady income to get you through this hard time.”

Several countries have announced that due to the crisis they will carry out, at least temporarily, some type of universal basic income, according to The Hill. Spain, for example announced recently that it is preparing to implement a universal basic income program.

Other countries, such as the U.S., have passed stimulus packages to help people get through the pandemic economically.

The pope also reflected on other aspects of the crisis in his letter, writing “I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center.”