Thursday, 27 January 2022
Department of Health
364. To ask the Minister for Health if the staff in a service (details supplied) will receive the €1,000 bonus payment for frontline healthcare workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4142/22]
Firstly I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all healthcare workers for their efforts during this most challenging period.
In recognition of the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Wednesday 19 January last, the Government announced a once-off public holiday will take place on Friday 18 March 2022.
The Government also announced COVID-19 recognition payment for frontline public sector healthcare workers, to recognise their unique role during the pandemic. The payment of €1,000 will not be subject to income tax, USC, or PRSI. The measure will be ring fenced to staff ordinarily onsite in COVID-19 exposed healthcare environments within the period between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021.
Those public sector frontline healthcare workers eligible for the payment will be directly employed public health sector staff working in clinical settings. A pro-rata arrangement will apply for eligible part time staff / equivalents and supernumerary students who were required to perform training in clinical sites.
The Department of Health will also introduce a measure for making a similar payment to staff in private sector nursing homes and hospices that were affected by Covid-19.
I would like to assure the Deputy that work is underway to ensure fairness in the application of this measure as the Government intended. The Department and the HSE are currently engaging in finalising arrangements to give effect to the Government announcement concerning the Recognition Payment. Full particulars, eligibility and terms and conditions that apply to this payment shall be made available shortly. It is important that this measure is applied fairly as intended and I welcome the work that is ongoing to ensure this is so.
There are many, many individuals in our country who did so much during the pandemic. I and the Government is sincerely grateful for this commitment but it is appropriate that these public sector frontline healthcare workers get particular recognition. They exposed themselves to particular COVID-19 risks that did not exist in other work environments or those working from home. I am also deeply appreciative of all those frontline workers who worked in our nursing homes and hospices during this pandemic and that they also get similar recognition.
Outside of the above recognition, the Government also notes that some private healthcare companies have recognised the work of their employees during the pandemic. I would encourage private healthcare companies that have not already done so to consider appropriate measures to recognise their own frontline workers for their work during this most trying period.