The HSE has finally issued a circular regarding the Pandemic Recognition Payment. As you know the INMO has been pursuing this claim since November 2020. Please note that this circular applies to HSE and Section 38’s and those eligible in Vaccination and Testing Centres only. Circular here
A further circular must be issued by the DOH regarding Section 39 organisations, the private sector (Nursing homes and private hospices), and those employed via a contract for service/agency staff. That circular will apply the same terms as this circular. To date, the government has not extended the scope of their announcement to include private acutes and general practice. The unions continue to pursue these matters and have requested a meeting with the department.
The timeframe set out in the circular is not agreed as it is not acceptable to the unions that the cut-off point is the 30th June 2021. We remain in the throes of COVID, the INMO and other healthcare unions believe that the date to be eligible for this payment must be extended to take account of current circumstances. The remainder of this notice sets out the contents of the HSE/Section 38 circular.
The ‘Pandemic Special Recognition Payment’ full value is worth €1,000, free of all taxes. Eligible employees must have been employed between 1st of March 2020 and 30th of June 2021 and have been identified as working in COVID-19 exposed healthcare environments. For part-time employees, the payment will be pro-rated on the following basis:
If you are an HSE / Section 38 employee, the following FAQ information will be useful to you:
Who is eligible?
Employees who, between 1st of March 2020 and 30th of June 2021, worked in an environment which warranted their inclusion in Sequence Group 1 and 2 for the Vaccination programme. This only applies to those directly employed by the HSE or Section 38 Agencies and those eligible in Vaccination and Testing Centres. (For other healthcare workers covered by the Government Decision, information will be circulated when available). You must have worked a minimum of 4 weeks.
How is an employee who was out on Long Covid treated in the context of the minimum period?
Eligible employees (including those eligible employees who may be on sick leave with COVID-19 within the eligibility period) who worked within the period whose contracted hours meet the 4-week threshold should be given the payment.
If an eligible employee worked for a number of employers during the period, are they entitled to more than one Recognition Payment?
No. Employees are only entitled to one Recognition Payment.
Do the employee/trainees have to make an application?
No application is required in this instance. Service managers, at site location level, must identify and verify the staff within scope to their own payroll departments, via the normal channels, as a net payment, utilising the short-term payments process, normally used. Upon acceptance of the payment, the employee confirms their agreement to the full terms and conditions that apply.
Employees who have changed employers during the period must complete the declaration form Trainees (eg: supernumerary students) must complete the declaration form and submit it by the 30th June 2022. Declaration forms to be sent to - “Nursing/midwifery office. So, in acute hospitals the DOM office, DOM office in midwifery, DPHN in community, Dons in ID and older persons”
Is the Recognition Payment Taxable or subject to other statutory deductions?
The Recognition Payment is paid tax-free and is not subject to other deductions.
Is the Recognition Payment Pensionable?
The Recognition Payment is non-pensionable.
Is the Recognition Payment payable to staff Working-From-Home?
The Recognition Payment only applies where an employee was working in the eligible environment during the period 1st of March 2020 to 30th of June 2021. This environment does not include the employees’ homes.
Is the Recognition Payment payable to students or Interns?
Yes. Students (e.g. Supernumerary students) and Interns staff are entitled to recognition for periods they worked/trained in a Covid-19 exposed environment.
Is the Recognition Payment payable to Retirees, new starters, leavers, and redeployed staff?
Yes. Retirees, new starts, leavers, and redeployed staff are entitled to recognition for periods they worked, subject to the minimum threshold. Any staff member who has left HSE or Section 38 employment, but is within scope, will be required to make contact with the HSE/Section 38 area to provide the necessary details, including the completion of any forms required to change personal details such as bank accounts, etc, required to action payment. They must also sign the declaration. This must be submitted by the 30th of June 2022.
Appeals and Resolution
Disputes involving interpretation of this Circular or disputes affecting groups of workers will be referred to an agreed joint Management/Union resolution procedure. All appeals must be submitted by the 31st August 2022. No appeals will be considered if submitted after this date. The outcome of the appeal process is full and final.
We have requested a meeting with the DOH on the outstanding matter and as we get more information on the Pandemic Payment, we will issue it through email. If you have further questions on the Pandemic Payment, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Director of Professional Services