Healthcare companies say red tape, difficult choices are attached to Covid-19 bonus

A doctor checking the pulse of a patient on an infusion

The government’s decision to give a €1,000 tax-free bonus to most people working in the healthcare sector has run into difficulty because employers don’t want to administer the gift, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday.

In addition, they are concerned about being forced to choose who should benefit, the paper said.

The government said last week healthcare workers, including cleaners and support staff but not doctors, are to get the bonus for their work during the coronavirus crisis.

Some 800,000 people will be eligible for the cash, which will be paid out in the autumn, health minister Hugo de Jonge said.

However, healthcare companies say the sector has a workforce of 1.2 million, and the ministry budget will not cover the bill. In addition ‘putting this into effect is not what employers want, given that the pressure of work is already enormous,’ Hans Buijing of the nursing association said.

Trudy Prins, of the healthcare institution association Actiz,  told the paper her members are not willing to choose between nurses, care assistants, cleaners and other support staff to decide who should benefit. ‘Give everyone a bonus or don’t bother,’ she said.

Hospitals have also called on the government to be clearer about who should get the bonus.

A spokesman for the health ministry said the precise details are still being worked out.

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