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Russian Investigative Committee launches first case on non-payment of medical workers’ bonuses for treating coronavirus patients

A criminal case has been launched in response to the non-payment of coronavirus bonuses for emergency services workers in the city Armavir (Krasnodar Krai), the Russian Investigative Committee reports.

The circumstances are being investigated as a case of criminal negligence. According to the investigators, the medical workers did not receive hazard pay due to the “negligence” of the Armavir City Hospital’s leadership. 

According to Interfax, this is the first criminal case in Russian for the non-payment of medical workers’ bonuses for work with COVID-19 patients.

On May 16, emergency services employees at the Armavir City Hospital released a video address, stating that they had not received extra payment for working with coronavirus patients. An inquiry began and the hospital’s head doctor, Sergey Smirnov, was fired. 

On May 17, the hospital’s medical personnel recorded a new video, demanding that Smirnov be allowed to return to work. The authorities in the Krasnodar Krai refused to reinstate him, explaining that Smirnov had not submitted the list of medical workers who had applied for extra payments for work with COVID-19 patients. 

President Vladimir Putin announced the aforementioned hazard pay for medical workers treating coronavirus patients on April 8. The Cabinet then allocated 45.6 billion rubles ($619.7 million) for these payments. Under this particular order, medical workers can receive between 25,000 and 80,000 rubles (between $340 and $1,087), over the course of three months, beginning in April.

In mid-May, healthcare workers across Russia began complaining that they had not received the payments they had been promised. During a video address on May 15, Putin criticized Russian officials for the “bureaucratic mess” surrounding these bonuses. On May 19, the President raised this topic yet again, saying that the delays in payment were due to the vague wording of the relevant government decree.