The INMO has called on the Minister for Health to “urgently intervene” and ensure the Pandemic Recognition Payment is expedited for thousands of healthcare workers across the country who still haven’t received it.
The payment of up to €1,000 was announced in January, but has so far only been received by HSE health staff.
Non-HSE workers, including nurses, health care assistants, cleaners, clerical workers, social care assistants, porters, and security staff employed by private providers, are still waiting on their bonus almost 10 months later.
Liam Conway, industrial relations officer with the INMO for the Cork and Kerry area, said it is “completely unacceptable” that the payment has been delayed for so many healthcare workers across Cork city and county.
“The HSE has known about it for the guts of a year, and there has been very little attempt to ensure that payment is made and expedited now.
"Unfortunately, the assurances provided at our conference last May by the Minster for Health and by the relevant authorities in the HSE and Department of Health have led to continued failure to deliver the payments to all of our members that are working in the private sector, and Section 39 organisations,” he said.
“It’s extremely disappointing this happening. There needs to be no further delay in it and they need to be paid,” he added.
The INMO say agency staff and contractors were central to the Covid-19 response, and now staff employed by Section 39 agencies, private nursing homes, Tusla, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service and others “feel abandoned” by the Department of Health and the Government.
NJC Unions chairperson and INMO director of professional services, Tony Fitzpatrick, said that as thousands were told they will be getting cost of living payments in the Budget this week, healthcare workers are “still none the wiser” as to when they will be getting their long-awaited Pandemic Recognition Payment.
Speaking at an Oireachtas Health Committee on Wednesday, Anne Marie Hoey, national director of HR at the HSE, said that around 123,000 staff have received the payment at this stage.
She said payment of the pandemic bonus for HSE and Section 38 staff happened “quite quickly” as they are directly visible on HSE payroll or through service agreements.
She explained that for staff employed by third party agencies, the HSE will need to engage with agencies to obtain details on staff numbers and eligibility for the payment, and is currently awaiting capacity support to process those details and make payments to those healthcare workers.
“I acknowledge and I accept that those staff absolutely should get that payment as soon as possible as indeed our other staff have… It’s just that gap that we don’t have that direct relationship on our payroll system with those staff,” she said.
“We have tendered for capacity support and that will be in place in the coming weeks… once the third party provider that’s going to assist us with the capacity piece is in place then we will start to make those payments as soon as possible,” she added.