Hugo de Jonge, Minister of Public Health, announced today that care workers will receive a net bonus of €1000.
Nurses, carers and support staff such as cleaners, in all sectors of care, will receive the bonus. It is intended as a token of thanks for care workers who have directly or indirectly felt the effects of the coronavirus crisis in their work. Doctors will not receive the bonus.
De Jonge emphasised that care workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, with double shifts becoming the norm for many. ‘It was an unprecedented time,’ he said.
The House of Representatives asked for a bonus for care workers when the pandemic first took hold in the Netherlands, and the cabinet promised to provide this. Over the coming few weeks, they will discuss how exactly the payments will be issued.
De Jonge states that the bonus will be paid in autumn this year. He estimates that 800,00 people are eligible to receive the bonus. It will therefore cost an estimated total of €800 million.
The Ministry of Public Health makes clear that employers should not receive less salary than what they currently receive in light of receiving the bonus.
Proposal for healthcare sector pay rises rejected
By a slim majority, the House of Representatives rejected a proposal to increase healthcare sector salaries this week. In response to this, De Jonge says that healthcare workers have received pay rises for years. ‘Every year we ensure that salaries in healthcare are in line with salaries in the rest of the market,’ he explains.
Care sector unions welcome the bonus, whilst continuing to push for structural pay rises. ‘The fight isn’t over yet,’ says Elise Merlijn, director of union FNV Zorg. Elise is pleased that everyone in the care sector benefits from the bonus, including ambulance staff, cleaners and carers for disabled people.
However, NU’91, an organisation for nurses and healthcare professionals, says that a one-off reward is not enough. They say that pay rises in the sector are ‘long overdue’. Elise Merlijn describes the issue as a ‘festering wound’ that De Jonge believes he has ‘healed by sticking a plaster over it’.
Translation: Rachael Vickerman