Government to provide financial support for healthcare workers with Long Covid

Photo: Depositphotos
Photo: Depositphotos

Healthcare workers suffering the long-term effects of coronavirus after falling ill with the virus at the start of the pandemic will receive financial support, long-term care minister Conny Helder has told parliament.

The government will draw up regulations to cover people who caught the virus while working in hospitals, care homes, community care teams and other institutions between March and June 2020, and been unable to return to work.

Healthcare workers were exempted from many of the quarantine rules in the early months to prevent staff shortages putting further strain on the system.

‘I am very well aware of the urgency of the problems for some people, which is why the cabinet is working in various ways to support them as well as possible,’ she wrote in a letter to MPs.

Helder said the cabinet had stepped in after efforts to negotiate a compensation deal between employers’ organisations and trade unions, the approach advised by the Council of State, failed to produce a result.

The FNV and CNV unions started a legal challenge two weeks ago demanding a compensation payment of €22,839 for every healthcare worker who developed Long Covid during the first wave.

Around 1,000 former staff have been dismissed after being declared unfit for work, causing their income to drop by up to 50%, the FNV said. It said the level of compensation was based on payments made for other industrial illnesses, such as cancers associated with exposure to asbestos or paint chemicals.

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