Written answers

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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191. To ask the Minister for Health when the Covid bonus will be paid to frontline workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11889/22]

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 this month 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 (eg: nursing homes and hospices that are private, public, section 39, voluntary etc.) that were affected by Covid-19.

The Department of Health appreciates the levels of interest this announcement has generated. We are working together with the HSE to provide additional details on this measure including full eligibility criteria, particulars (including payment dates), terms and conditions that apply. It is important that this measure is applied fairly as intended and I welcome the work that is ongoing to ensure this is so.

Though noting the above work is still ongoing, it is envisaged that the process for paying eligible public sector healthcare workers will commence this month. For eligible healthcare workers in private sector nursing homes and hospices, noting the additional complexities involved, it is envisaged the process will commence in the second quarter of this year.


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