KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has extended the special Covid-19 allowance to emergency workers, and those working in respiratory infection wards, doing early screenings, or managing deceased patients.
MOH has also scrapped the 15-day work condition for certain government health care workers, allowing them to get the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance regardless of how many days they work according to their schedule.
According to an April 21 circular by MOH secretary-general Chen Chaw Min, the Covid-19 allowance is now offered to doctors and health care workers who manage the admission and treatment of suspected Covid-19 patients at Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI)/ Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) wards in hospitals. They are eligible for the full RM600 monthly allowance whenever they work, according to their schedule.
Doctors and health care workers on duty in Emergency and Trauma Departments (ETD) in hospitals and in emergency units at public health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan) are also eligible for the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance, regardless of working days.
The full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance, regardless of days of work, has also been offered to officers and health workers ordered to manage deceased patients who were Covid-19 positive or suspected of being positive.
Health care workers instructed by the department head to perform early health screenings at the main entrance or other entrances of a hospital or public health clinic are also now eligible for the Covid-19 allowance. However, they will only get the full RM600 monthly allowance if they work at least 15 days in one calendar month.
The full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance, without any 15-day requirement, has been extended also to health care workers who perform detection and screening tests for Covid-19 tests (including surveillance of influenza-like illness (ILI) at screening centres;
Those who receive, collect, transport and/or conduct tests on samples of positive or suspected Covid-19 patients at laboratories will also receive the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance whenever they work according to their schedule.
Health care workers who manage the admission and treatment for people suspected of Covid-19 infection or confirmed coronavirus patients at hospital isolation wards will get the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance, regardless of days of work performed.
Six job scopes have been listed for the 15-day requirement for the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance. Those who work fewer than 15 days in one calendar month will get half the allowance at RM300.
These include those working in the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) to plan, monitor and coordinate the action plan of Covid-19; performing detection and early health screening at the country’s entrance points such as airports, ports and others; as well as being a part of the Rapid Assessment Team and Rapid Response Team (including drivers) at the district level and Ambulatory Treatment Unit in hospitals tasked to performed situational assessment and contact tracing on site, and/or transporting positive patients or those who are suspected of Covid-19 for isolation or treatment.
The requirement of minimum 15 days’ of work for the full RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance also applies to those performing prevention and infection control activities in health facilities and on-site, such as disinfection duties and Covid-19-related waste management tasks; performing home surveillance on self-monitoring individuals at home or at quarantine centres; as well as those performing early health screenings at the main entrance or others entrances of a hospital or public health clinics, as ordered by the department head.
If an officer performs more than one scope of work, their monthly claim for the Covid-19 allowance will follow whichever related allowance rate.
Apart from that, the duties of department heads have also been expanded to include identifying and ordering doctors and health care workers that need to work in Covid-19 management as per their schedule; as well as identifying and instructing doctors and health care workers to transfer to other offices or health facilities temporarily in the same or different state.
Department heads are now also allowed to identify other job scopes that they feel are included in Covid-19 management, even though these may not be listed in this MOH circular or a previous one. These job scopes will be eligible for the Covid-19 allowance according to the days of work in one calendar month — minimum 15 days for the full RM600 rate, or RM300 for fewer days’ work.
MOH has also simplified the claims process for the Covid-19 allowance. Staff must send in claims by the 10th of the following month, but they only need to produce a claims form, without any supporting documents. The department head must also ensure that the staff’s supervisor does not request for any supporting documents.
The special RM600 monthly Covid-19 allowance is in effect from April 1. This circular must be read together with the MOH secretary-general’s circular Bilangan 2 Tahun 2020.
“The MOH secretary-general’s circular dated 31 March, 2020, and FAQs issued before this are no longer suitable for reference and are hereby cancelled,” said Chen.
In a previous FAQ released by the ministry on April 9, ETD staff were only eligible for the allowance if they were directly involved in Covid-19 management.
The FAQ also stated that the full RM600 rate was only granted for at least 15 days’ work in one calendar month, or RM300 for fewer days’ work.
A government doctor previously told CodeBlue that the majority of frontliners would not be getting the full RM600 Covid-19 allowance, as the criteria set were too restrictive.
“The majority of HCW (health care workers) are doing two-week shifts, just one day shy of the required 15 days. As such, we will be paid half, which is the same as someone doing one day exposed to the frontlines,” the doctor told CodeBlue on condition of anonymity.