Virtually all health staff groups seeking compensation for working in pandemic

Nurses and health group of unions have lodged separate claims

Virtually all groups of staff in the health service are seeking some form of “compensation” from the Government for their contribution to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses said on Tuesday they had lodged a claim with the health service for 10 days of additional leave last November.

However, The Irish Times understands that the group of trade unions representing virtually all grades of staff across the health system has lodged a separate claim for “special recognition” of healthcare workers with regard to their response to the virus.

Hospital Report

The claim submitted by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) last November related to 2020.


It is unclear at this time whether there will be a further claim made by INMO in respect of 2021 and whether this will seek a financial payment or more additional leave.

Unique circumstances

Ahead of a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee on Tuesday the INMO said healthcare workers in Northern Ireland and Scotland were set to receive a once-off £500 bonus for their work so far in dealing with the pandemic while those in France were to be awarded a €1,500 payment.

The health service group of unions – or staff panel, as it is known – said in its claim that considering the unique circumstances of this pandemic and its impact upon public health, that “the manner of healthcare workers’ response to assist in meeting that public need should be recognised by the HSE”.

"Healthcare workers have had to upskill, redeploy and work in very difficult conditions throughout 2020 and this must be acknowledged and recognised in a tangible way by their employer. Also, over 11,500 healthcare workers [at the time of the submission in late November] have been infected with Covid-19 and they work in an extraordinarily hazardous workplace. Despite this our members have worked with the HSE to maintain and enhance services despite these clear risks. We believe it is time to compensate those workers involved in the provision of healthcare."


The Department of Health said on Tuesday that the claim submitted by INMO along with another from the health service staff panel – which also includes representatives of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers, ambulance personnel, administration staff, and support staff – had been discussed through the regular union/management coronavirus engagement process.

“The claim is currently being considered by the HSE and the Department of Health,” it said.

The Department of Public Expenditure did not comment on the claims for compensation for working during the pandemic lodged by the groups in the health service.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent