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Explainer: Where nurses, teachers, gardaí and shop workers all stand on a pandemic bonus


MANY rewards have been flagged as potential components of a pandemic bonus package for frontline workers in special recognition of their efforts.

They include an extra bank holiday, a four-day super bank holiday weekend, 10 days’ leave, a tax-free voucher, a cash payment and tax credits. There was even talk of a statue being commissioned at one point.

Here is what unions have said about it.


Health workers

Their unions are the only ones to have lodged a formal claim with their employer, the HSE.

The INMO, Siptu, Fórsa, IMO, MLSA, Connect, craft unions and Unite sought 10 days’ leave, according to a recent Labour Court recommendation.

Chief negotiator Tony Fitzpatrick has denied the demand is prescriptive, but said a bank holiday will not be enough.



The Garda Representative Association has said any claim would be for members to access the same benefit as other frontline workers. A spokesperson said it has written to the commissioner about it.

Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) general secretary Antoinette Cunningham said members should be “brought into the conversation”.



In a joint statement, the ASTI, INTO and TUI said they would expect to be included in any discussions around the acknowledgement of workers’ contributions during the pandemic.

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“Teachers’ extraordinary efforts – both face to face with their pupils in crowded classrooms and in the online learning space – have allowed schools to continue to prioritise teaching and learning while meeting children and young people’s needs,” they said.


Retail workers

Mandate said the Government should reward all workers in the private sector as well as the public sector who kept the country going during the crisis.

“Many of our members in retail risked their own health and the health of their loved ones and proper recognition should be given to that sacrifice,” said Mandate general secretary Gerry Light.

Some supermarket workers have been given bonuses by their employers.

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