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Editorial

Lost wages: Service workers deserve help

A Trader Joe’s employee greets people on Boylston Street Wednesday.

Associated Press

A Trader Joe’s employee greets people on Boylston Street Wednesday.

It’s a testament to the generous spirit of hotel and restaurant workers that so many donated their time to feed law enforcement personnel investigating the Marathon bombings. Even though businesses near the blast sites were closed ­— most notably the Lenox Hotel — employees found ways to keep investigators fed and cared for. The Globe reported recently that 70 Lenox managers and employees volunteered to clean rooms and prepare food. Indeed, when law enforcement officers laid down cash to pay these volunteers, the workers insisted the money be given to bombing victims instead.

The Lenox plans to compensate its workers in some way. And city officials say they expect some large retailers, such as Trader Joe’s and Apple, will step up and pay employees’ lost wages. But small employers may have more trouble getting reimbursement from their insurers if they follow suit. Wisely, the city is pressing federal officials to help these employers. Lack of paid work has been a real hardship for many hotel and restaurant workers; the city should keep trying to find ways to help the hospitality workers who came through for Boston at a difficult time.

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