Union increasingly concerned about healthcare workers with Long Covid
The FNV labor union is launching a hotline for healthcare workers with Long Covid symptoms who are suffering financial damage as a result. With the hotline, the FNV hopes to get a clearer understanding of the extent of the problem, "and to be able to provide the new Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport with up-to-date information.” Meanwhile, the FNV is advocating that the government quickly come up with a special fund for Long Covid issues.
According to the union, more and more healthcare professionals who have been on sick leave for more than a year are in danger of seeing their salary and benefits slashed. They also have incurred costs for rehabilitation that are not reimbursed by their insurers.
The FNV is now monitoring more than a hundred reports of employees with Long Covid complaints. The vast majority work in healthcare, according to the union. "These are all people who can plausibly show that they were infected at work. Their illness could often have been prevented by using the right protective equipment."
A special Long Covid fund should make it possible to give financial compensation to people who were infected with the coronavirus in the workplace and still experience complaints, according to the union. The FNV states that the former health minister, Tamara van Ark, promised in April that there would be a fund for these victims, “but little has happened since then."
FNV Vice-President Kitty Jong says that the reason given is that it is not feasible as long as there is a caretaker Cabinet in place with no regular Cabinet officially announced. "But the problems these people face are piling up. In three months, the first group of employees with Long Covid will end up in the WIA because they have been ill for two years by then."
There are reports that people's net income has fallen by 30 to sometimes 50 percent, Jong said. "Some victims have to sell their home because the burdens are no longer bearable. And that is very sour when you consider that in many cases these are also the people who put their own health at risk to be able to continue caring for us during this coronavirus pandemic."
Companies receive billions in support, according to De Jong. "But the people on the front line really feel that they are victimized again and again. They are affected in their health, and in their wallet."
Reporting by ANP