Pandemic Bonus Payment delays utterly ludicrous

07 July 2022

Labour health and disability spokesperson Duncan Smith has described the ongoing delay in paying frontline workers a Covid-19 Pandemic Bonus Payment as utterly ludicrous.

Deputy Smith said:

“Over two years after a bonus was first proposed by the Labour Part, and over six months after it was agreed by Government, the fact that tens of thousands of healthcare workers, who are not directly employed by the HSE, are still waiting to receive a pandemic recognition payment is utterly ludicrous at this stage.

“The delay is a massive failure of leadership, and it is disrespectful to our frontline healthcare workers who went above and beyond throughout the pandemic. This payment was the very least that the government could do, but even this simple payment has become a disaster of mismanagement and turned a potentially good news story into a bad one.

“This payment should have been a chance to show workers that the political system recognises, respects and values the contribution of those on the frontline. Instead, they have been met with empty promises and excuse after excuse.

“It is not good enough for the Minister for Health and the HSE to wash their hands of the thousands of Section 39 workers, cleaners, caterers, and security staff who do not work for the HSE or a recruitment agency. They made a massive contribution combatting the spread of Covid and they must be eligible for this payment.

“The HSE has made it clear to unions from day one that the circular that gives effect to the decision to pay non-HSE staff lies squarely with the Department of Health and the Minister.

“The longer they hide from their responsibilities, the longer these workers will be left high and dry during the worst cost of living crisis in our lifetime. These workers made enormous personal sacrifices. They risked their health to keep us safe. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty and this needs to be recognised.”

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