Ministers want to give a ‘no strings’ €15,000 pay out to healthcare workers who developed coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic and are now dealing with the impact of Long Covid.
The pay out is not meant to be seen as damages, or some form of invalidity benefit, but is a ‘recognition of the suffering’ nurses and other healthcare staff have experienced, care minister Conny Helder told MPs on Thursday.
The cabinet has now asked the Council of State, its most senior advisory body, if such a generic payment would be acceptable in law and if it would set a precedent.
The two largest Dutch trade unions have threatened to take legal action against the government unless it offers compensation to healthcare workers suffering from long covid.
They have welcomed news of the payout, but say it may be too little too late.
The FNV and CNV say the government has failed to address the needs of some 5,500 frontline healthcare workers who are still suffering the effects of coronavirus infections in the early waves of the pandemic.
According to the unemployment agency UWV, some 600 healthcare workers have been declared unfit for work due to long covid symptoms. A further 1,000 have been on sick leave for two years, and now risk losing their jobs.
The unions say that government guidelines for protective equipment and quarantine violated World Health Organisation standards, allowing hundreds of healthcare workers to become infected
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