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Nurses in Scotland will start to receive £500 COVID-19 bonus from February

The thank you payment will be separate from pay negotiations, with RCN Scotland still seeking 12.5% pay rise
Picture shows a bundle of Scottish banknotes tied up in ribbon

The thank you payment will be separate from pay negotiations, with RCN Scotland still seeking 12.5% pay rise

Nurses in Scotland will start to receive their 500 'thank you' bonus for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic from early 2021.

Health staff are set to see the money in their payslips from February, and social care staff in March.

All staff will be given the option to have the payment made over three months to minimise any impact on benefits such as universal credit.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the one-off payment in a speech at the Scottish National Partys annual conference on 30 November.

Bonus will not form part of pay negotiations

The thank you payment will be separate from pay negotiations, with RCN Scotland still seeking 12.5% pay rise

Picture shows a bundle of Scottish banknotes tied up in ribbon
Picture: iStock

Nurses in Scotland will start to receive their £500 'thank you' bonus for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic from early 2021.

Health staff are set to see the money in their payslips from February, and social care staff in March.

All staff will be given the option to have the payment made over three months to minimise any impact on benefits such as universal credit.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the one-off payment in a speech at the Scottish National Party’s annual conference on 30 November.

Bonus will not form part of pay negotiations

‘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,’ Ms Sturgeon said. ‘The applause was important, but it was never enough. Our appreciation must be shown in a more tangible way.’

She emphasised that the £500 has no strings attached and will not form part of pay negotiations in 2021.

All NHS and social care workers employed for a minimum of one month between 17 March and 30 November 2020 are eligible for the payment, including staff who have been shielding from the pandemic or who have now retired.

Nursing students and temporary staff who worked on paid contracts for at least one month during the qualifying period will receive the payment, along with NHS bank and locum staff working since 17 March 2020. Agency staff and students on unpaid clinical placements are not eligible for the bonus.

Social care staff will start to receive the payment a month later than health staff because a new payment mechanism needs to be set up.

‘Our safety-critical profession needs to be recognised and supported’

Speaking as the bonus was announced in November, RCN Scotland associate director Norman Provan welcomed the payment but said nurses needed a pay deal that would support the profession in the years to come.

‘Our members will of course be happy to receive this one-off payment but this does not address the years of pay restraint or the ongoing demands that nursing staff face on a daily basis,’ he said.

‘Our safety-critical profession needs to be recognised and meaningfully supported. This is why we are continuing to campaign for a 12.5% increase in pay for 2021-22.’

It is still unclear if England, Wales and Northern Ireland will match the £500 bonus.

This article was first published on 1 December and updated on 23 December to reflect new information on the payment timescale.


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