The Pandemic Special Recognition Payment has been approved for a group of cleaning contractors, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Aisling Dolan, who recently highlighted that cleaners and caterers in hospitals were left waiting a year and a half for their payment when HSE colleagues had already been paid, is delighted to confirm the long-awaited payments are now being issued.
Senator Dolan said: “I received confirmation from Kosi Corporation that payments have been approved for over 1,100 Noonan contract cleaners last week. I understand that payments for other contract agencies such as Aramark will soon also be processed and that a bulk of payments should be approved within the next week.
“It may take agency contractors a week or so to issue payments through their own accounts sections, so I would hope to see this payment in people’s bank accounts within the next couple of weeks.
“This is so overdue for people working as contractors in our hospitals. The Government made a decision in January 2022 to acknowledge the incredible work by healthcare staff during the Covid pandemic and the service given in a crisis to help keep people safe.
“These employees went to work every day with patients who were very ill with Covid-19 and faced more risk for themselves and especially vulnerable family members when they came home,” Senator Dolan explained.
“I met with contract workers from Portiuncula University Hospital last November in relation to eligibility for the Pandemic payment and this was clarified when I raised it in the Seanad at that time. I met with workers again two weeks ago to highlight concerns in relations to payment delays and I raised this issue again in the Seanad
“I want to thank the women working in Portiuncula University Hospital who highlighted a situation for thousands of staff across the country. Caterers & cleaners looked after patients by bringing meals to Covid wards and managing infection control. This group have helped accelerate these much-needed payments that families are counting on this year.
“Some 205,000 people have received the Special Pandemic Recognition Payment, while 60,000 of this group have been approved through Kosi Corporation as the HSE appointed company to manage verification and payments. The challenge around verification and part-time staff working in different areas unfortunately led to unacceptable delays for families.
“Now contract cleaners and caterers and their families will receive the Pandemic Special Recognition Payment of €1000. This is a very welcome and just acknowledgement of their work.
“I am delighted that payments have started to issue and that contract agencies will be able to forward this payment to contract agency staff who put patients first in hospitals during the pandemic” Senator Dolan concluded.