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“Extension: Paid Sick Leave for Long COVID Patients Prolonged by Three Months”

Dublin: The government has extended paid sick leave for individuals grappling with long-term COVID issues by another three months, aiming to provide relief primarily to hundreds of healthcare workers facing prolonged COVID-related challenges. Various unions, including INMO and FORSA, have expressed their support for this decision.

The government has officially confirmed the extension of the paid sick leave scheme for those experiencing long-term COVID effects. Initially introduced in July 2022 specifically for healthcare workers dealing with these issues, the scheme was initially slated to last for one year but has since been extended multiple times.

Criticism of the government’s prior reluctance to address this matter has been voiced by opposition parties and unions alike, leading to the issue being brought before the Workplace Relations Commission. Following Health Minister Stephen Donnelly’s request for additional discussion time, the Public Expenditure Department opted to prolong the scheme.

INMO and FORSA Push for Permanent Resolution

Both the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the FORSA trade union have commended the government’s decision. They emphasised that hundreds of healthcare workers continue to grapple with the repercussions of prolonged COVID infections. While the extension of sick leave provides temporary respite, it falls short of offering a lasting solution.

A permanent, fitting resolution is imperative for those affected, and this extension period can serve as an opportunity to negotiate towards that end. The unions underscored that this decision will bring much-needed peace of mind to those suffering from illness.

Long-term COVID, characterised by lingering symptoms even after the initial infection has passed, has afflicted many individuals for months. Symptoms vary widely but commonly include severe fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, cognitive issues such as “brain fog,” and insomnia.

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