Monday, September 19, 2022

Health care workers in private and voluntary nursing homes are calling on the Government to implement the Covid-19 pandemic payment announced in January.

In January, the Government announced a Covid-19 recognition payment of €1,000 for eligible frontline public sector healthcare workers to recognise their unique role during the pandemic. It confirmed the payment would not be subject to income tax, USC, or PRSI.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly explained the payment is being paid to frontline healthcare workers, including agency staff working for the HSE, employed between March 1st, 2020 and June 30th, 2021 in Covid-19 exposed healthcare environments and will also be payable to part-time workers who qualify.

However, now eight months later, Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) and the Alliance of Healthcare Assistants in Ireland (AHCAI) has denounced the unacceptable delay in the rollout.

The unions say to date, workers in private and voluntary nursing homes and other services are still to receive the payment.

“It is an insult to staff in nursing homes and within services that served on the frontline that the State has procrastinated on this very important matter for people who endured so much for so long during Covid-19,” said Tadhg Daly, chief executive officer of NHI.

“Staff in nursing homes feel insulted by the extended and unacceptable delay that has manifested.”

Mr Daly said: “It is unacceptable that we are eight months down the line and the payment to workers who went through so much during Covid-19 has still not been processed.

“The latest from the Department of Health after all that time is that now a tender process must be entered into for rollout of the payment. The scheme was announced by Government in January, we’re approaching the year-end, and now they tell us they need to engage in a tender process.”

Clare Doyle, AHCAI Chairperson said the “actions of the State are shocking and unacceptable”.

“We have pleaded directly with multiple Government Departments to demonstrate authentic recognition to these vital healthcare workers by rolling out the payment and strengthening the role of HCAs within society.

“This protracted delay shows disrespect towards the employees and the profession.”

In May, Mr Donnelly admitted that it has taken too long for frontline health workers to receive their pandemic recognition payments, but he expressed confidence that bonuses will be paid to all eligible staff, and some have already been paid.

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