Government must confirm Covid Recognition Payment for non-HSE healthcare staff

Frontline workers need firm payment date as cost-of-living crisis bites

Trade union Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, has written to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly seeking confirmation that the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment, introduced to recognise the unique contribution of frontline workers in healthcare settings during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be extended to all non-HSE staff working in a healthcare setting, including hospital security guards and contract cleaners. The union also urged the Minister to set a date by which all eligible workers will receive the payment.

Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Tom Fitzgerald said:

“At the height of the pandemic, security guards, cleaners and other non-HSE staff in healthcare settings were on the Covid-19 front line.  Whether as the first point of contact with patients displaying symptoms of the virus, or fulfilling specialised complete cleans including handling and disposing of clinical waste, these and many other workers performed a crucial role in containing the spread of Covid-19.

“Unite welcomed the Government’s decision to extend the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment to agency roles working in the HSE, and would urge them to now confirm that these roles include hospital security guards and cleaners”.

Regional Officer Eoin Drummey added:

“The Government announced what was supposed to be a goodwill gesture 39 weeks ago, but frontline workers who played a key role at the height of the Covid-19 crisis are still waiting.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite with winter approaching and budgets stretched, frontline healthcare workers who have yet to receive a pay increase in real terms this year will be relying on the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment to meet essential bills.  We are calling on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to set a firm date by which all eligible workers will receive the payment”, Mr Drummey concluded.

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