The €1,000 'pandemic bonus' is likely to be paid to frontline healthcare workers in February or March.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has also confirmed agency staff who were contracted by the HSE will be eligible for the tax-free payment.
Details of the bonus were announced yesterday, alongside plans for an extra bank holiday to be held on March 18th this year.
There have been calls from opposition parties and representative groups for the eligibility for the bonus to be expanded to the likes of pharmacists, gardaí, family carers and retail staff for their efforts during the pandemic.
Speaking in the Dáil, the Tánaiste said it's “very hard to know” where to draw the line with a payment such as this.
Leo Varadkar said the Government decided to give the payment to the people who “wore masks and gowns” and were exposed to COVID patients every day, at a time when there were no vaccines.
Agency workers such as nurses, cleaners or paramedics will be eligible if the agency was contracted by the HSE.
However, somebody who worked for a private company - such as a private hospital, GP practice, pharmacy or swab centre - will not be covered.
Mr Varadkar said there were “very substantial fees” paid to those businesses and many have already given staff bonuses.
He also said public and private sector workers alike will benefit from the extra bank holiday on March 18th.
The €1,000 bonus is set to be paid in February or March, with Mr Varadkar saying legislative amendments are needed first to ensure the payment is tax-free.
Responding to the Tánaiste, Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty said he believes family carers were frontline workers.
He suggested an extra public holiday will actually "increase the pressure" on carers, as the likes of day services and schools will be closed.
He asked the Tánaiste whether he personally believed whether carers should be included in the bonus payment.
Mr Varadkar said the Government decision was that the bonus would only apply to State employees and agency workers.
He does believe family carers deserve recognition and noted the Government is currently looking at changing rules to allow carers to avail of the State contributory pension.
He suggested that would be “much more valuable” financially to carers than a €1,000 bonus payment.
Earlier, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath said expanding the payment beyond core healthcare workers would be "incredibly difficult".