Hundreds of healthcare workers with Long Covid losing their jobs, union says
Several hundred healthcare workers have lost their jobs because they are suffering from Long Covid and have been on sick leave for two years, the FNV trade union federation said on Friday.
The figures come from a union survey of 518 healthcare workers who have been affected by Long Covid. Particularly at the start of the pandemic, appropriate protective clothing was not available for some workers.
“It’s a kick in the teeth for all the medical professionals who were on the front line, allowing the Netherlands to continue,” said Vice President Kitty Jong.
“Many healthcare workers isolated themselves from friends and family because they didn’t want to be a risk to their patients. In the end, most of them got infected at work. And as a thank you for doing a heroic task, they were fired.
The public health institute RIVM estimates that 238,000 healthcare workers have caught coronavirus and, according to the FNV, most of the Long Covid reports they have received come from people who work in nursing homes or as nurses in residence.
The FNV and the CNV trade union federation have for some time been asking the cabinet to set up a fund for care staff who have suffered financially after developing coronavirus during their work.
Permanent employees receive at least 70% of their salary for two years if they become unable to work due to health problems, although some employers increase this percentage to 100%. After two years, however, they can be made redundant and must then apply for invalidity benefit (WIA).
In some cases, it will be half their original salary, according to the FNV.
The government has set up a special temporary fund to help employers in the health sector retain staff beyond the two-year deadline, but this will not come into effect until June. That, says the FNV, is too late for many.
Moreover, the aid is only for six months.
The FNV wants the government to set up a permanent fund like those used to help people with other work-related disabilities, such as painters and people who have worked with asbestos.
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