CONFIRMATION that Health Care Support Assistants, formerly known as home helps, will receive the Government’s Covid-19 bonus payment, has been welcomed.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath told the Dáil last week that the €1,000 tax-free bonus for frontline healthcare staff has been extended to include home help workers.
In response to a question on the matter from TD Michael Collins, Minister McGrath confirmed the change to the Government’s payment plan.
He said that home help workers employed directly by the HSE or by a private provider doing work on behalf of the HSE will be included in the recognition payment.
The Government confirmed plans to provide the €1,000 tax-free bonus for public sector healthcare workers last week.
Frontline healthcare workers in nursing homes, porters and cleaners in healthcare settings, hospice workers, student nurses, those working in HSE test centres and members of the Defence Forces seconded to healthcare roles will all be eligible, as will staff in private sector nursing homes affected by Covid-19.
Speaking to, local older persons advocate, Paddy O’Brien welcomed the news.
“I feel that it’s only right and proper that these people who did trojan work in the past 22 months should be included in this bonus from the Government in recognition of the contribution they’ve made.
“When I hear about frontline workers I automatically think of the home helps and the wonderful contributions they have made in protecting the aged while putting their own health at risk.”
Mr O’Brien said that in many cases they are the first point of contact for elderly people when they are feeling unwell and are the person to ring a GP or ambulance when needed.
He said that the home help also ensures elderly people have adequate heating and food and that “they always seem to have a wonderful relationship”.
“It would have been an injustice if the home helps had been excluded from this bonus.
“There’s no doubt about this. These are people at the very bottom of the salary scale compared to doctors, nurses, gardaí and military personnel. These home helps are going out providing this great service on behalf of the HSE.
“Only for service provided by the dedicated home helps, many of our elderly people would be in long-term care at this point in time,” he said, highlighting how the service allows elderly people to remain in their own home and in their own community.