Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that student nurses who lost employment due to Covid-19 will be eligible for pandemic unemployment payments (PUP).
This will be applied from the date of loss of employment.
The Irish Nursing and Midwives Organisation (INMO) had raised the issue of loss of income among student nurses due to fewer opportunities for part-time work, particularly in nursing homes.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also confirmed a review of student nurses’ allowance is under way and will be available in September 2021.
It came after the Government parties voted down a bill by Solidarity-People Before Profit to reinstate pay for student nurses and midwives during the pandemic on Wednesday night.
Mr Varadkar was pressed on the issue during Leaders’ Questions by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, who said those working on the front line and in Covid wards deserved to be paid.
The Tanaiste responded: “The matter is being considered. A full review of student allowances is under way. It should be ready in September 2021.”
About 4000 student nurses have been working during the pandemic in the Republic. They had briefly received the healthcare assistant rate of €14 an hour during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic but this was withdrawn.
On Wednesday the Government was accused of treating student nurses and midwives who prop up the health services like “slave labour”.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry warned that treating the 4,000 student nurses and midwives like “skivvies” might save the State money in the short term but would be a huge cost in the medium term or even sooner.
He also claimed the State was engaging in gender inequality by failing to pay the student nursing body, the vast majority of whom are women. – Additional reporting: PA