Written answers

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Department of Health

Health Services Staff

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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456. To ask the Minister for Health if he will set out the current position in relation to supports available to public health service employees who cannot return to work due to the ongoing effect of Covid-19; when a scheme to ensure continued support for such employees suffering from long-Covid will be put into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44359/22]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform introduced Special Leave with Pay (SLWP) for Covid at the start of the pandemic as a temporary measure to assist in the prevention of the onward spread of Covid in the workplace.

The most recent change to this introduced by DPER means that all of those currently out on SLWP who remain unwell, will have moved to the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme from 1stJuly 2022.

Both the Government and I recognise that the staff of the public health service have gone beyond the call of duty, providing patient care in frontline Covid clinically exposed environments, treating Covid positive patients throughout the most challenging phases of the pandemic. Many of those frontline public health sector workers contracted Covid and continue to suffer from long-Covid and remain unfit to attend the workplace.

On this basis a scheme, specific to the public health service has been developed to provide forPaid Leave for Public Health Service Employees unfit for work post Covid infection.

This Scheme will ensure that eligible public health sector employees who remain absent from the workplace re long-Covid, do not experience a ‘cliff edge’ in respect of the revision of SLWP provisions from the 1stJuly 2022.

The HSE have issued the full details of the Scheme to all public health service employers by circular, and eligible employees will have been notified by their employer that they are transferred to the new Scheme retrospectively from 1stJuly 2022.

In respect of occupational supports, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy in this regard.


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