First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a £500 one-off payment for health and care staff in Scotland in recognition of their contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking yesterday, Sturgeon said the one-off payment would be made “as soon as in practicable” to all NHS and social care workers employed since 17 March 2020, including staff who have had to shield or who have since retired.
The First Minister said: “Back in the spring, at the height of the first wave of COVID, many of us publicly – and often loudly – showed our appreciation for the work our NHS and social care staff were doing.
“The applause was important, but it was never enough. Our appreciation must be shown in a more tangible way.
“Those who have worked in our hospitals and care homes – at the sharpest end of the COVID trauma – deserve recognition now.”
Sturgeon said the bonus would be paid in the current financial year and would be separate from any negotiations about longer term pay, with “no strings attached”.
The bonus applies to people working in adult social care, including: care home staff; homecare staff; palliative care and hospice staff; adult personal assistants; social care staff working in residential care settings; and social workers, including those working with children and families in criminal justice.
The move, which follows a similar scheme announced by the Welsh Government in May, was welcomed by unions.
UNISON Scotland regional secretary Mike Kirby said: “We welcome today’s announcement on a bonus payment for NHS and social care workers which is the result of many months of pressure from UNISON, Scotland’s largest union. It is no less than they deserve for taking care of us and the most vulnerable in our society during this unprecedented crisis.
“These are all just ordinary people who have been thrust into an extraordinary situation and it is high time the Scottish government recognises them for the vital work they do – not only during the pandemic – but each and every day.
“There is still a lot of work still to be done to work out the detail and, importantly, how we can get the money into the pockets of our hard-working and dedicated NHS and social care workers. UNISON will continue to work with the Scottish government to ensure this happens as soon as possible.”