Health Risk Allowance for Covid-19 Revoked by Sindh Government

On Friday, the Sindh government made a grave announcement concerning health workers in Pakistan. They stated that they are revoking the health risk allowance for coronavirus to health workers. This announcement came as a disappointment for nurses all across the province, who have outright denounced this decision. 

As per the notification issued by the provincial treasury department themselves, Syed Murad Ali Shah, the Chief Minister of Sindh has given permission to suspend the allowance. This will take effect from the 1st of October, 2020. 

However, the Sindh Young Nurses Association (SYNA) strongly disagrees with this decision made by the Sindh government. They have demanded that allowance should be continued, especially for the nurses who have been working in coronavirus wards. 

SYNA members have greatly criticized this step taken by the Sindh government. They have argued that the nurses have been deprived of their rightful allowance. SYNA members claimed that clerks and medical superintendents positioned at various hospitals were colluding to share the funds, which were assigned to nurses as part of health risk allowance. 

Moreover, they added that not a single one of the health workers assigned to isolation centers were given the allowance. This included paramedics, nurses, and doctors alike. The health worker allowance was 50 percent of the health workers’ basic salary but, they had not received a single penny in the past seven months. 

SYNA members also called out hospital administrations for not giving them the allowance that they were supposed to be receiving starting from March of 2020. Furthermore, hospital administrations were also accused of employing delaying tactics when it came to issuing funds for the allowance. Another claim made was that the clerks employed at healthcare facilities embezzled funds, which were approved for the allowance alone. 

Complaints were also made that nurses, either those working in isolation centers or coronavirus healthcare facilities on a contractual basis, were not paid any allowance. 

Members of SYNA have demanded that the government of Sindh investigate the matter and address it appropriately. They have threatened to arrange protests and approach the National Accountability Bureau or Federal Investigation Agency if their demands are ignored. SYNA members have made it clear that they are very serious about being paid what is rightfully theirs. 

Back in June, the government of Sindh had introduced the allowance. This was done to ensure that financial relief was being provided to health workers infected with the virus, as they completed their duties.