Healthcare workers to get €1,000 tax-free bonus, unions call for structural pay rise

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Healthcare workers, including cleaners and support staff but not doctors, are to get a tax free €1,000 bonus for their work during the coronavirus crisis.

The bonus is to thank people, many of whom ended up working double shifts, for their extra efforts, health minister Hugo de Jonge said.

MPs voted in favour of the bonus at the beginning of the crisis, but the government had not gone into details until now. Some 800,000 people will be eligible for the cash, which will be paid out in the autumn, De Jonge said.

Nursing unions have welcomed the bonus but said it should not replace demands for basic higher salaries for everyone working in healthcare.

‘It is important that the government does not show its appreciation once, but backs a structural improvement in sector pay,’ Gerton Heyne, chairman of nursing union V&VN said.

Earlier this week it emerged that thousands of care workers who currently claim housing and childcare benefits may have to repay the money because all the overtime this year they have worked has pushed them over the income limit.

The bonus will not have an impact on any supplementary benefits which low paid healthcare workers can currently claim, De Jonge said.

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