Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has welcomed confirmation that the government will change its approach and pay the pandemic bonus to section 39 organisation and nursing home staff on a self-assessment basis.
Teachta Cullinane said that this decision, which the Minister for Health confirmed in response to his question in the Dáil this morning, is the right approach, even if it was arrived at late, and added that it was positive that the government was taking on board this recommendation.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“We are now ten months into the year, and it has been almost two years since the pandemic bonus was first mooted.
“Tens of thousands of workers across nursing homes, disability services, section 39 organisations, the defence forces, the fire brigade, and the prison service have yet to receive their pandemic bonus.
“It is welcome news that the Minister for Health will now ensure payment of the pandemic bonus on a self-assessment basis followed by a comprehensive audit.
“There has been an unacceptable delay because of the overly bureaucratic approach to date, but this decision, late as it may be, is the right decision.
“The Minister for Health has confirmed a change in approach and has said that the pandemic bonus will now be paid to nursing homes and section 39 organisations as part of a self-assessment process, followed by an audit to ensure proper payments were made.
“It is right that the Health Service and Department of Health would be concerned about double payments, wrong payment, or overpayments, but this bonus has been delayed for far too long for many workers.
“The payment must now be expedited for these workers ahead of the Christmas period, and there should be no more foot-dragging.
“This is a common sense and appropriate way to make this payment and the payment must be made in the coming weeks.
“It is welcome that this recommendation has been taken on by government.”