A temporary 12-month Special Scheme of Paid Leave was introduced in July 2022 for certain eligible public health sector employees suffering from long-COVID.

At the request of the Minister for Health, this Special Scheme was extended a number of times, most recently in October 2023 when it was extended to run until the end of March 2024.

The Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform made it clear that this was a final extension, meaning the Special Scheme would end on 31 March 2024.

Temporary re-instatement of Special Scheme of Paid Leave for certain public health sector employees suffering from long-COVID 1
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The conclusion of the Special Scheme has been the subject of an industrial relations claim from health sector staff representative bodies and has been referred back to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Minister Donnelly sought a further extension to allow for further conciliation to take place on the matter.

The Department of Health is pleased to confirm that the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform have this morning approved a 3 month extension to facilitate this.

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The re-instatement of the scheme will be retrospective to 1 April 2024, and will apply only to those individuals who were previously on the scheme.

There will be no impact on sick leave entitlements for those affected as a result of the conclusion on 31 March.

Health service employees impacted will be notified of this without delay.

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