By Patrick Chitumba
Civil servants who contract Covid-19 are covered under an insurance policy that will see them receiving money ranging from US$650 to US$1 000 paid in local currency at the prevailing auction rate.
The policy will consider the levels of proximity and responsibility of the Covid-19 positive civil servant.
Permanent secretaries who have been part of the essential services and have been working since March when the national lockdown was implemented make the category for those who will get US$1000 in the event they test positive to Covid-19.
The rest of the civil servants will get money ranging from US$650.
Government has said that it is committed to continuously improving the working conditions of civil servants.
Since June this year, the Government has been paying its workers US$75 allowances, and pensioners US$30 to cushion them against economic challenges aggravated by Covid-19.
On Monday, civil servants and their employer agreed on a 41percent salary increase and a bonus whose payment will be staggered from this month to December.
In an interview yesterday, Public Service Commission (PSC) head pay and benefits development and the person in charge of welfare issues for civil servants, Mr Elson Gonye confirmed the development.
He said the Task Force on Harmonization and Standardization of the Public Sector Remuneration Framework resolved that victims of Covid- 19 be covered by insurance.
“The insurance will consider the level of proximity and level of responsibility of the Covid-19 positive civil servant,” he said.
Mr Gonye said treasury concurred to the provision of the Government Employer’s Liability.
“Insurance cover for those public service employees reporting for duty during the period of the Covid-19 lockdown effective 31 March 2020 with cover extending to 30 June 2021. It was resolved that if a member in Grade E5 and below tests Covid-19 positive and/or falls ill due to Covid-19, the member is paid a grant in ZWL$ equivalent to US$650. A member in Grade F and above in the same circumstances will be paid a grant equivalent to US$1 000,” he said.
Mr Gonye said insurance cover per person shall be equivalent to one year’s pensionable salary and in the event of the death of a member due to Covid-19, the surviving members of the family will be given the mentioned grant.
“In the case of members becoming symptomatic of Covid-19 infection, and there being shortfalls in coverage by medical aid relating to the treatment/management of the patient, Government will settle the shortfalls; and if a member is ill for a period longer than the usual 90 days, they will be granted 90 more days to make it a total of 180 days on full pay,” he said.
Mr Gonye said while the establishment of a more permanent framework is being worked on, the benefits are to be urgently processed by the respective Ministries’ Human Resources Departments subject to the ratification of status of the Covid-19 member(s) by the relevant Department and of a designated Official in the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“The Head of ministry shall be responsible and accountable for the testing of personnel and disbursement of benefits using the Ministry’s compassionate account,” he said.
In an interview last night, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima confirmed that some civil servants who had tested Covid-19 had received the grants which are equivalent to the local currency.
Prof Mavima, however, said he didn’t have the exact number of civil servants who have benefited from the grant.
“I have heard about it and need to confirm with Public Service Commission (PSC). But I have heard that people have already paid that amount after testing Covid-19. It’s coming from PSC,” he said. The Chronicle