Govt announces 2-week tax-free bonus for health sector workers
– Pres Ali urges health workers to continue serving country
In what will place a further $612 million into the hands of health sector workers, President Dr Irfaan Ali has announced that the Government has approved a one-off, two-week tax-free bonus for all health workers.
The move is expected to benefit 9200 employees in the health sector and is likely to be paid by the end of the week. According to Ali, this is in keeping with the Government’s promise to reward health workers.
“I want to take this opportunity again to thank all the workers in the medical field, medical services, health services, for the work they continue to do,” the President said, also urging health workers to continue fulfilling their duty and eschew political propaganda.
“In keeping with the Government’s promise to reward you for the work you’ve been doing, I’m pleased to say the Government is taking a decision to grant an across-the-board tax-free two weeks’ bonus salary to every single healthcare worker. Not just doctors or nurses or frontline workers. For every single healthcare worker.”
However, he noted that the Government is making the necessary investment into healthcare workers.
“We ask of you to continue to do your best in support of the citizens of this country, your Guyanese brothers and sisters, and most of all in keeping with your oath of duty,” President Ali said.
In a statement, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh also confirmed the impending payout and further indicated that instructions have been issued for the bonus to be paid before the end of the current week.
When the Government recently announced the 2021 across-the-board increase for Central Government employees, Minister Singh had indicated that an amount of $400 million had been set aside to be paid to frontline workers in the health sector who continue to brave extenuating dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic while in the discharge of their duty.
“In making the final determination on the payout to the health sector employees, Government has decided to make the payment applicable to all workers in the health sector, having taken into account the challenges involved in identifying which specific posts in the health sector constitute frontline posts and which do not,” the Ministry said.
“This latest announcement comes less than one week after the Government completed processing and paying the 7 per cent across-the-board increase to all Central Government employees along with their December salaries which placed $10.5 billion in the hands of 50,000 public servants, teachers and members of the Disciplined Services. This bonus now paid to health sector workers represents yet another tangible step taken by the Government to improve the circumstances of public sector employees and of all Guyanese more broadly.”
Last year December, a two-week bonus for healthcare workers had also been announced by the Government. Shortly after the PPP/C Government assumed office, healthcare workers began protesting for better pay and benefits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Budget for 2020 presented by the Government had already allotted $150 million for frontline workers, who are those healthcare professionals that deal solely with COVID-19 patients.
But the healthcare workers, during their protests, wanted all healthcare professionals – not just those on the frontline – to benefit from better conditions. This, therefore, laid the ground for the precedent of all healthcare workers benefiting, to be set.