France to give special status to health workers who die of Covid-19

'Died in the service of the Republic' recognition is similar to status for soldiers and police officers and means their children will receive financial and other support from the state

24 May 2021

France is to confer a special status on health workers and caregivers who have died from Covid-19, meaning their children will be entitled to financial and other support from the state. 

They will be said to have 'died in the service of the Republic', a recognition similar to that which already exists for police and the military who die in service - they are said to have 'died in the service of the nation'. Anyone killed in battle is said to have 'died for France'. 

“I want us to give our gratitude a solid legal foundation,” Mr Macron said in a video post on Twitter. "That we grant to public officials who died in exceptional circumstances in the service of the common good a specific statute, that of death for the service of the Republic, which allows their sons and daughters to become wards of the Republic." 

The current status reserved for military and police entitles any children they leave behind to financial help for education and job training, including free schooling and scholarships.

The new status - which Mr Macron described as “an act of justice and fraternity” - was aimed at anyone “who, in the middle of the pandemic, looked after the lives of others.”  

The idea was first proposed by Indre MP François Jolivet, who suggested a status of 'national recognition' in April 2020, following the death of a nursing assistant in Chateauroux. It was adopted by the National Assembly the following month. 

Mr Jolivet said that he listened to President Macron's announcement "with serious satisfaction and great emotion", adding his first thoughts "go to all those children who are in pain." 

The proposal will be translated into an amendment included in the draft law on civil security under debate in the French parliament next week. 

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