The bonus will be worth £735 and covers all health and social care staff. It also recognises the work of students who came forward to work on the front line, as well as private contractor staff working in the NHS, who are included in the same award. The award will mean staff are left with approximately £500 after deductions for those on the basic rate of tax.
The move comes after significant lobbying from all of the 14 trade unions representing NHS staff across Wales, including the SoR. In January, with national government in Westminster still failing to seriously engage, Welsh unions challenged Welsh Minister Vaughan Gething. The call was for a significant and early pay rise, combined with a bonus payment in recognition for the work being carried out in the face of a pandemic and national emergency.
Kevin Tucker, the SoR’s National Officer for Wales, said: ‘We challenged Welsh government to show the whole country that the actions of our NHS Wales workforce is much appreciated not just through applause but in action by committing to give a “Wales bonus” to NHS staff.
‘Staff have continued to be courageous in their efforts in tackling the virus and supporting Covid patients. This has been delivered against a backdrop of staffing shortfalls with unfilled vacant posts across all job roles, placing enormous pressure on the NHS workforce.’
The award can also make a difference to the Welsh economy as it looks to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Wales has some of the poorest communities in the UK with high levels of unemployment. One in five workers in Wales are employed in the public sector and the NHS is the largest local employer in many of these communities.
Kevin added: ‘The Welsh government has recognised there is an alternative to austerity which Welsh communities know doesn’t work. After the pandemic the NHS wage is often the main or only guaranteed family income. Therefore, rewarding NHS staff will be a boost for local businesses, the Treasury and the economy as a whole. It’s the right thing to do – mathematically and morally’.
The move by the Welsh government follows the Northern Ireland bonus paid to NI students and staff and the controversial 1 per cent pay rise for healthworkers by the Scottish government.