Unions criticise delays on €1,000 pandemic bonus payment scheme

Final details of pandemic bonus for frontline healthcare workers expected imminently

Healthcare unions have criticised delays in setting up a promised scheme to pay staff who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic a €1,000 bonus, which officials say will be announced imminently.

The finalised scheme for the bonus, which is expected to be paid on a pro-rata basis for time spent working in a frontline role, is likely to be signed off within days, said sources.

Tony Fitzpatrick, chairman of the National Joint Council of healthcare unions, wrote to health officials on Wednesday to criticise the delays setting up the scheme.

Mr Fitzpatrick said unions had sought changes to a previous draft of the scheme in late March, but had not received any updates. In a letter to health officials, he said it had been 12 weeks since the Government announced its commitment to pay a pandemic bonus. He asked for an explanation of “what is causing the delay” in finalising the terms .


Mr Fitzpatrick said the unions "would appreciate a level of expediency" from the Health Service Executive and Department of Health on the matter.

Departmental discussions

It is understood there has been “a back and forth” between the departments of health and public expenditure over the past 10 days.

Some of the discussions between the departments related to the scope of who would be entitled to the payments and to what extent administrative staff would be included, said sources.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said officials expect the “imminent publication” of full details of the application process for the payment and who will be entitled to it.

“This follows consultations between the department, the HSE and health sector trade unions . . . over the last number of weeks,” she said.

“Separately, the measure also extends to those equivalent healthcare workers in private nursing homes and hospices” she added. “Arrangements for this sector encompassed by this measure are currently being progressed by the department.”

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times