Posted: Fri 1st May 2020

£500 extra payment for care staff in Wales announced by First Minister

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 1st, 2020

The Welsh Government will fund a £500 extra payment for all social care workers in Wales, the First Minister announced today.

Speaking at the today’s Welsh Government press conference, the first minister said the payment provides further recognition for an often “under-valued and overlooked” workforce.

The payment will be available to 64,600 care home workers and domiciliary care workers throughout Wales.

It comes after an initial £40m of extra funding for adult social care services to help meet the extra costs associated with responding to the coronavirus pandemic was provided,

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Tens of thousands of people work in social care in Wales, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and are doing so with great dedication in often challenging circumstances.

“They are undertaking tasks, which involve a high level of intimate personal care, often accepting a greater degree of risk and responsibility. Many of our social care workers are juggling their own personal caring responsibilities with their professional ones.

“I want our social care workforce know their hard work is both appreciated and recognised. This payment is designed to provide some further recognition of the value we attach to everything they are doing to – it recognises this group of people are providing the invisible scaffolding of services, which support both our NHS and our wider society.”

Further details about the extra payment will be announced shortly. The Welsh Government is working with local authorities, who commission social care services in Wales, and with trade unions and Care Forum Wales, to finalise details.

The First Minister has called on the UK Government not to tax the extra payment, enabling social care workers to keep the full amount. The Welsh Government is also working with the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure it does not impact on people’s benefit entitlements.

The First Minister added: “We are urging the UK Government and the HMRC to make an exception in these truly exceptional circumstances.”

Today’s announcement follows the announcement of the death in service payment for the families of all NHS and social care staff made by Health and Social Services Minister Vaughan Gething on Tuesday.

The move has been “strongly welcomed” by Unite. However it has also warned that the UK government cannot ignore the low pay rates that many of the key workers during this crisis currently receive.

This scheme will provide eligible beneficiaries with a one-off sum of £60,000 and will apply to those working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who may have contracted coronavirus.

Unite regional secretary for Wales Peter Hughes said: “This is a tremendous initiative and underlines the work that the Welsh Labour government has done to both protect and acknowledge the incredible work of frontline workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This payment goes a small way towards showOMG the appreciation in Wales for care workers, many of whom are on the minimum wage, who have continued to care for their clients and keep them safe in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.

“This initiative highlights the forward thinking nature of the Welsh government, which has demonstrated again that it delivers for workers.”

Commenting on the decision, Kelly Andrews GMB Social Care lead said: “This will be welcome news for our hardworking carers who have been risking their own lives by looking after the most vulnerable in our society.

“£500 goes a lot further than an £8.00 badge, and will make a real difference for carers. Many are facing minimum wage employment and SSP if they are sick themselves, although there is so much more that needs to be done.

“COVID 19 has highlighted how much the Social care workforce has been undervalued for years. GMB is calling for a full scale review & restructure of Social Care in Wales so that Social care workers are finally recognised for the invaluable and highly skilled professional service that they provide.”

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