Firstly I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all healthcare workers for their efforts during this most challenging period.
As the deputy is aware, on January 19th, the Government announced a COVID-19 pandemic recognition payment for frontline public sector healthcare workers, to recognise their unique role during the pandemic. Following extensive engagement with healthcare unions on the matter, on 19th April the HSE published eligibility guidelines and FAQs, as apply to the HSE and Section 38 agencies, which are available on its website: www.hse.ie/eng/staff/resources/hr-circulars/hr-circular-012-2022-pandemic-special-recognition-payment.html. Payment is currently receiving priority across all Hospital Groups and Community Services in the HSE.
The HSE and the Department are currently examining progressing the rollout to the list of 6 non-HSE/non-Section 38 organisation types covered by the Government Decision. It is hoped that information will be published shortly for those certain non-HSE/S38 healthcare employees that are covered by the Government Decision and the process available to their employers to implement this measure for their eligible staff. This shall cover eligible staff in:
1. Private Sector Nursing Homes and Hospices (e.g. Private, Voluntary, Section 39 etc.);
2. Eligible staff working on-site in Section 39 long-term residential care facilities for people with disabilities;
3. Agency roles working in the HSE;
4. Health Care Support Assistants (also known as home help / home care / home support) contracted to the HSE;
5. Redeployed members of the Defence Forces to work in frontline Covid-19 exposed environments for the HSE;
6. Paramedics employed by the Department of Local Government, Housing and Heritage.
Rolling out the payment to eligible employees of those specific non-HSE/Section 38 organisations covered by the government decision is a complex task, particularly as these employees are not normally paid by the public health service, duplicate payments need to be avoided, and there are many organisations to be covered, but this work is being given priority attention.