Health and social care workers including nurses in Northern Ireland will receive £500 in ‘special recognition’ of their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Northern Irish health minister Robin Swann said it will be paid to all healthcare workers including nurses, doctors, care home workers, domiciliary care workers, administrative staff and estates teams.
In a press conference last Wednesday, he said: ‘There are no words to properly convey what health workers have done for us, we will never be able to repay that debt.’
Carers are also set to receive the bonus, but ‘there is still more work to be done in this regard and it will be significantly more complex to administer than the staff payment’, he added.
The payment will be subject to approval from the Department of Finance.
Mr Swann has also written to the ministers of finance and communities to ask them to ensure the extra payment does not have an adverse impact on any social security payments.
He also announced a one-off recognition payment of £2,000 for all non-salaried students who have been on clinical placement between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.
But currently healthcare workers have been told they must wait until the NHS Pay Review Body – which advises the government on Agenda for Change pay – has submitted its pay recommendations in May before they receive a salary boost.
Nurses on Agenda for Change contracts were always due for a pay rise after spring 2021 when the current three-year pay deal ends, although unions have repeatedly called for it to be pushed forward.