Written answers

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Department of Health

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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876. To ask the Minister for Health if he will consider including personal assistants in the €1,000 front-line worker bonus as per the requests by organisations (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8285/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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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, 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.

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.

I am also mindful of other workers who played their own part during this difficult period in sustaining our health service but did not work in such exposed areas. It is tough to draw a line on this matter, but the Government based its decision on the risks which frontline healthcare workers faced.

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