A circular on the pandemic special recognition payment, due to be released next week, urges healthcare employers to “immediately comply” with management’s request to make the payment through their payroll systems.
The circular, viewed by Independent.ie, covers HSE and Section 38 workers and provides details including eligibility criteria, the types of workers who benefit, what happens when a worker is on sick leave, the appeals process and whether the families of deceased employees will receive it.
It does not apply to non-HSE employees, including those working in nursing homes and hospices. A separate document on them is not yet finalized.
What does the circular say about how much I get?
The circular states that the total value of the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment is €1,000 and is tax-free.
Eligible employees must have been employed between March 1, 2020 and June 20, 2021 and identified as working in Covid-19 exposed healthcare environments.
For part-time workers, those whose contracted hours are 60% or more of full-time workers in their grade will receive €1,000.
Those whose contracted hours are less than 60 pcs receive €600.
Anyone who has worked less than four weeks during this period is not eligible.
When is it paid?
Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said today the bonus would be paid in the “next available paycheck, subject to local procedures”.
Per the circular, all eligible employees’ payment will be automatically processed by their local HR department.
It said employers are being urged to “put the circular into effect immediately” and implement the payment through their HR and payroll systems as soon as possible.
What if I have left HSE or changed jobs?
The circular states that those who left or changed employers within the specified period must fill out a declaration form in order to receive the payment. It must be submitted by June 30 of this year.
Who is Eligible?
A separate Frequently Asked Questions document, compiled by the health authority, states that vaccination program personnel must have been enrolled in the “Sequence Group 1 and Group 2” groups.
This applies to those employed directly by the HSE or Section 38 authorities and to those who work in vaccination and testing centres.
The circular says it “does not apply to those who may have received vaccination out of order who would not have met the criteria”.
What are the roles of those who qualify to deposit?
Those who benefit include nurses, midwives, consultants, non-consulting hospital doctors, healthcare assistants, medical laboratory staff, support staff employed by the HSE or by Section 38 employers including cleaners, maintenance staff, porters, catering staff, clinical Waste workers and CSSD (Central Sterile Services Department) according to official document.
Others who qualify include medical support assistants, paramedics, administrative staff who meet criteria for reception in emergency rooms and ambulances, swabs, vaccinators, and health and social workers.
Will an employee who is absent due to long Covid qualify?
The document says employees who may be on sick leave for Covid during the four-week entitlement period but have worked within that period should receive the payment. This is the case once their contracted hours reach the four-week threshold.
If I worked for multiple employers during the period, do I get more than one recognition payment?
No, employees are only entitled to one payment.
Is the recognition benefit eligible?
Is it paid for employees working from home?
Is it paid to students, interns, retirees, or transferred employees?
Yes. Students and interns are entitled to this for the times they worked or trained in a Covid-19 exposed environment.
The official document states that ‘fresh starters’, ‘dropouts’ and reinstated retired employees are entitled to recognition for the time they have worked once they have reached the minimum threshold of four weeks.
Is the recognition bonus paid if an employee dies in service?
Yes, the document says it is payable in the amount of €1,000 to the estate of an employee who worked in a Covid-19 exposed environment between March 1st 2020 and June 2021.
What do I do if I think I didn’t get the right amount or anything when I should have?
Objections to a joint management and union decision-making process can be lodged until August 31 of this year.
The document states that no appeals will be considered if filed after that date and the outcome of the appeals process is “complete and final.”
I am not an HSE worker but have worked on the front lines during the pandemic. When do I get the payment?
It is unclear.
The Department of Health has informed the HSE that it will publish information for other staff affected by the government decision and the process available to their employers to implement the measure shortly.
Who will the second circular cover?
This separate circular applies to staff in private sector nursing homes and hospices, staff working on-site in long-term care facilities for people with disabilities, staff in agency roles working in the HSE, healthcare assistants under contract to the HSE, new recruits of the Ministry of Defense and paramedics employed by the Department of Local Government, Housing and Heritage.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/explainer-full-guidelines-for-the-pandemic-special-recognition-payment-41557281.html Explanation: Complete guidelines for the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment