No extra government support for education employees with long covid

10 Mar 2023 ,

The Dutch government does not feel that it should provide additional support to education employees at risk of becoming unfit for work due to long-term covid complaints. Employers and unions will have to make a joint arrangement for this.

In January, 1,700 education employees with long covid had reported to the unions AOb and FNV. They had to work when most Dutch people still worked from home and were not given priority for vaccinations. Some of them have since been fired after two years of illness, leading to a large drop in income. Education unions and school leaders therefore want the government to arrange retroactive collective disability insurance for education.

But the government only feels the moral obligation to provide extra support for healthcare personnel with long covid, who often worked unprotected during the first wave of covid. Education ministers Dijkgraaf and Wiersma understand the unions’ request, but argue that for additional support, they should make agreements with employers.

No special support measures

At Radboud University, about thirty employees are dealing with long-term health complaints following covid, a university spokesperson informed. ‘So far, the company doctors have not counselled any employees who were unfit for work for more than two years and four months (the period until someone receives disability benefits, ed.) due to long covid.’

The university has no special support measures for employees with long covid complaints. ‘All employees who are unable to work for long periods of time receive guidance from the company doctor, including employees with long covid’, the spokesperson says. ‘Additional support from specialists can be offered via the company doctor. Radboud University also has a relief fund for employees who are at risk of financial problems due to long-term disability, the Assistance Fund (Stichting Financieel in Balans in Dutch, ed.).’

Translated by Jan Scholten

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