Health workers in Scotland will get a £500 bonus payment - but will England follow suit?

Health and care workers in Scotland will be eligible for a £500 bonus scheme, after Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the policy yesterday.

Speaking at the SNP’s annual conference the First Minister heaped praise on health and social care workers for the “incredible” sacrifices they have made during the pandemic.

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The scheme will see workers receive a bonus of £500, or a pro-rata bonus, based on their working time, at a total cost of approximately £180 million.

Ms Sturgeon called for Boris Johnson to allow the payments to be made tax-free, saying, “We are asking nothing of the UK government, with this one exception. Please allow our health and care heroes to keep every penny of Scotland’s thank you to them. Do not take any of it away in tax.”

The UK government has said the devolved administration in Scotland has “the powers and funding to cover the tax owed on the payment if it wishes.”

Will the same bonus be offered across the UK?

There has been no word on a potential equivalent to the scheme in England.

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The Welsh government announced earlier in the year that care workers would receive a £500 bonus for their work during the pandemic.

Thousands of one-off payments have been made to social and care workers in Wales, though there has been no announcement yet of a counterpart scheme in England.

Who is eligible in Scotland?

While the government has not announced any intention to mirror the Scottish scheme for health and care workers in England, the Scottish government has published guidance on who exactly is eligible for the scheme.

The guidance states that the payment is for:

staff who have been active in the NHS since March 17, 2020, but who have since left NHS employment, including retireesstaff who accepted and worked on temporary contracts since 17 March to aid pandemic response, but who have since left NHS employment, including students who worked under temporary contracts but who have since returned to universitystaff covered by the two-tier agreementgeneral Practitioners and their practice teams, including 2C practices

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The payment is also available to staff providing NHS services under independent contractor arrangements, including:

GP surgery staffNHS dental surgery staffNHS pharmacy services staffNHS optometry staff

And staff working in Adult Social Care, including

Care home staffHomecare staffPalliative care/hospice staffAdult Personal AssistantsSocial care staff in residential child care settingsSocial Workers (including those working with children and families and in criminal justice)