President Ali announces 2-week bonus for health-care workers
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday announced that all healthcare workers will benefit from bonuses before the end of the year.
“All healthcare professionals will benefit from a two-week bonus paid before the end of the year as part of the response to the pandemic,” the President announced.
He was at the time delivering remarks during the launch of the retrofitted Leonora Cottage Hospital as part of the “SMART” Health Care Facilities project.
The Head of State noted that all healthcare workers will be classified as ‘frontline workers.’
“Some months ago, almost as soon as we assumed office, there was a strike among nurses. In addressing that strike, I said, ‘We all have democratic rights, but we also have a duty and an oath depending on what career we take’. And I said to the nurses and doctors that we understand their complaint, but we must have patience…I promised that the Government will address this issue before the end of the year. And we also backed that promise up by setting aside $150 million in the budget to support these professionals in the pandemic”, the President said.
President Ali noted that, initially, the health officials were trying to decide how to differentiate between frontline workers and those who are second- or third-line workers.
“We have been able to cut programmes and to find additional resources beyond the $150 million. And this afternoon, I want to say that we will consider every healthcare professional as frontline,” the President said.
The President assured the gathering that, as the economy grows, conditions will get better. He said that, come next year, special resources would be set aside for educational courses in the field of health care, public health nursing, nursing assistant, pharmacists.
“Health and education are key foundations on which the society will advance,” the President said.
The President also announced that over $1B will be allocated in the 2021 national budget to upgrade the West Demerara Regional Hospital.
“You gave us the mandate by trusting us to lead this country, and we have a duty to honour that trust. We have a duty to respect that trust and, importantly, those who may not have supported that mandate on Election Day, we have a duty to win your trust; so that, together in a unified way, we are definitely going to build a stronger Guyana,” the President said.
Shortly after the new 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 Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) had already allotted $150M 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.
As such, President Ali explained that these bonuses will be paid to all healthcare workers, not just those on the frontline.
Meanwhile, the Head of State reminded healthcare workers that they will also be benefiting from the $25,000 per household COVID-19 relief grant, a slew of tax reductions, and their children will benefit from the $4,000 per child school uniform vouchers and the $15,000 per child cash grant.
Additionally, the Human Services and Social Security Ministry had also announced that it would be expanding its childcare assistance programme to provide free child care to frontline workers who are providing an essential service or key public services during the COVID-19 pandemic.