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Medical worker in Krasnodar Krai threatened with criminal liability after collective complaint about non-payment of coronavirus bonuses

An employee of the ambulance station at the Abinsky District Hospital in Krasnodar Krai was warned that they could face criminal or administrative charges following a collective complaint about the lack of hazard pay for work with coronavirus patients. Novaya Gazeta reported the threat, citing a copy of the warning.  

In the document, which was sent on behalf of the head of the local police department, the medical worker in question is named as the organizer of a mass event, and warned that “carrying out extremist activities” is not permissible. What the police consider a “mass event” is not specified.

Earlier, workers at the Abinsky District Hospital applied for help through the project “Emergency journalistic aid” established by the media association “Syndicate-100.” The hospital’s medical workers also recorded a video address, in which they say that the facility’s leadership are claiming that they are not entitled to bonus payments for working with COVID-19 patients.

The Abinsky District Hospital’s head doctor, Pavel Isaev, met with the medical workers before they recorded the video message. He argued that the workers cannot lay claim to extra payments. The healthcare workers disagreed, underscoring that they were responsible for bringing patients with pneumonia to the local infectious disease hospital, and that the Abinsky District Hospital itself was closed for quarantine due to a patient with coronavirus, Znak.com writes

Similar problems have been reported in the neighboring Krasnoarmeysky District, where a paramedic was called to the Investigative Committee after publishing a video of their colleagues’ complaints about the lack of coronavirus bonus payments. The paramedic’s phone was seized. That said, after the video came out, the medical workers in question received their hazard pay. 

On May 19, the Investigative Committee initiated its first criminal investigation for the non-payment of coronavirus bonuses, accusing the leadership of the Armavir City Hospital (also located in Krasnodar Krai) of “negligence.”

President Vladimir Putin announced the aforementioned hazard pay for medical workers treating coronavirus patients on April 8, afterwhich the cabinet 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” with the 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.