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The purpose of the scheme

The scheme has been introduced to recognise and reward the hard work and commitment of social care staff who have provided essential care to our most vulnerable citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Welsh Ministers wish to reward health and social care workers for their commitment and tireless efforts in these most challenging of circumstances. 

Management of the scheme and claim process for social care workers

Local authorities have overall responsibility for managing the delivery of the scheme with respect to social care. They are responsible for contacting social care services to collect information on eligible staff. Local authorities will issue claim forms to social care employers who will pass these on to staff. Claim forms will not be made available by any other means. Individuals should raise any concerns they have about any aspect of the process with their employer/former employer who should bring this to the attention of the local authority.

Payment

Payment is a one-off payment of £735 for eligible full time or part time staff.

You may only receive one payment (even if you have had more than one job in the time period). You must not claim more than once as this may be considered as fraud.

The payment will be made through your pay and deductions will be made for income tax, national insurance and pension. The UK Government has not exempted the bonus payment from tax and so Welsh Government has funded the scheme so that after deductions most people will receive £500.  

If you pay tax at the basic rate (20%), it is likely you will receive approximately £500 net. If you earn under the tax threshold you may receive more than £500 and if you are a higher rate tax payer you will receive less, depending on your individual circumstances. 

If you are in receipt of welfare benefits, you may wish to take advice on how this payment may impact on the amount you receive.  

If you prefer, you can receive the £735 in five monthly instalments of £147 by indicating this on your claim form. This option is not available if you have left your job and are no longer working in social care and will be paid by your previous employer. 

If, for whatever reason, you do not wish to receive this payment, do not complete the claim form.

Part one: Eligibility

Time worked during relevant period

You must have worked for a minimum period of nine days/shifts between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021 to receive this payment. This does not have to be on consecutive days or for the same social care employer. This minimum period is the same for full time, part time, agency staff or staff on ‘zero hours’ contracts.

Types of employment

You must be a member of the paid workforce. Volunteers, unpaid carers, students, unpaid interns and those paid allowances rather than a salary are not included in this scheme. This is not intended to diminish the valuable contribution made by these groups of people, but this scheme is focussed on the salaried social care workforce.

Individuals employed on temporary contracts in eligible job roles (outlined below) and have worked for a minimum of nine days/shifts in the relevant time period are included for payment. Casual staff are included if they meet the same requirements.

Agency workers providing temporary cover for any of the eligible job roles are included for payment if you have worked the minimum nine days/shifts in the relevant time period.
 

Absence during the relevant time period

You will receive this payment if you were employed in an eligible job role between 1 June 2020 and 28 February 2021 but were absent for the whole period because you were shielding, on long term sickness absence, on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave. This is to ensure you are not disadvantaged due to a health condition or other protected characteristic under the Equalities Act.

You are not included for this payment if you have chosen to take a career break throughout this period. You will not receive this payment if you have been dismissed for gross misconduct from your employment, during or since this period.

Seconded and re-deployed staff

You are included for payment if you have been seconded or redeployed into an eligible social care role from a non-eligible role and worked for 9 days/shifts in the relevant time period.

You are included for payment if you have been seconded or redeployed into a non-eligible role but continue to be employed in an eligible job role. 

If you have worked in more than one job in the time period

If you are in a different health or social care job now, than you were during the period 1 June 2020 to 28 February 2021, you should claim the payment through your current employer. 

If you worked for the NHS during the period, but now work in social care, you should claim through your current employer. Your current employer may need to make checks to verify your previous employment.

If you are no longer employed in health or social care, you should claim from your most recent health or social care employer. Your previous employer should try to contact you, but you may wish to make contact yourself as they may not have your up to date contact details.

If you have more than one job

If you are employed in more than one eligible health and social care job (at the same time) then your payment will be made by the NHS and you must not complete a claim form for your social care employer.

If you have two or more jobs in social care, you should complete the claim form for the employer for whom you do the most hours. You must not complete more than one claim form as this may be considered as fraud.

Cross border issues

Eligibility for the payment does not depend on where you live, it depends on your employment. If you live in England but work in an eligible job role in Wales you will receive the payment. If you live in Wales but work in England, you will not receive the payment. The scheme is to recognise the contribution of social care workers who have provided care and support for people in Wales.

Eligible job roles

Social care is a wide and diverse sector. Local authority, private and third sector organisations provide advice, support and personal care to many in our population. This scheme will provide payments to over 100,000 paid social care workers in Wales. Even so, there will be some whose job role is not included here and we have set out some principles which have guided eligibility.

Principles surrounding eligibility

  • social care is the provision by society of what is necessary for the health and welfare of a person or group of people; specifically various types of care, support or supervision, excluding medical treatment
  • the scheme focuses on staff in social care services that support people with particular and specific needs. It does not focus on staff in services which are available to everyone (universal services).
  • the payment is to frontline staff only outside of local authority social services and registered care providers. We appreciate business support, HR services, payroll, IT and senior management all support delivery of services, however the scheme cannot extend this far
  • there must be an element of connection between the service and local authority social services. Staff should be employed by social services, employed in services commissioned by social services (with the exception of supported housing as set out below) or paid for by direct payments. Staff may also be employed in social care services receiving referrals from social services. Services obtained and funded on an entirely private basis are not included
  • this scheme is focussed on the paid social care workforce
Eligible job roles
Social services

Included for payment:

All local authority social services staff comprising; Directors of Social Services, heads of service and all staff under these managers including their Business support staff, social workers, social work assistants.

Not included:

Chief Executive, local authority staff who are not employed in social services (unless a specific exception is listed elsewhere in this guidance). Ancillary staff– local authority employed cleaners and catering staff (other than those working in local authority managed care homes).

Joint directorates:

Staff who work directly for the social services ‘branch’ of a joint directorate are included for payment but employees who work for other ‘branches’ of joint directorates or across both are not included for payment.

Multi-agency or integrated teams:

Staff employed by social services in integrated, multi-agency or regional teams are included. Staff employed by health will receive their payment from the NHS. Staff employed by other agencies are not included in this scheme.

Supported housing 

Included for payment:

Support workers in commissioned emergency/temporary accommodation, supported housing, floating support workers and homelessness outreach workers are included for payment with the team manager.

Local authority housing staff providing outreach service to homeless people and working within emergency accommodation. 

Ancillary staff in large ‘hostel’ type settings (providing all meals catering, large communal areas) – security, kitchen and domestic staff.

Not included:

Middle and senior managers, business support, HR and all other ‘back office’ staff. Other ancillary staff.

Local authority housing staff other than those specifically included.

Staff working in general needs social housing. 

See question 1.

Supported living and extra care

Included for payment:

Care workers employed by a registered domiciliary support service providing care to people in supported living and extra care are included for payment.

Not included:

Scheme managers, assistants and ancillary staff. Any business support, HR and all other ‘back office’ staff in commissioned services.

Staff in sheltered accommodation. See question 2.

Services commissioned/ referred to by social services 

Operation of service – requirement:

For staff to be eligible the service in which they are employed must have continued to provide a social care service for at least 3 months during the period 1 June to 28 February 2021.

Social care services where staff are included for payment:

Private and third sector services may be commissioned by local authority social services or they may be funded through Welsh Government grants or other funding sources including local authorities. 

For staff to be included for payment, the service must deliver social care services to people with specific social care needs, usually as a result of a referral from social services following some form of assessment. 

Services where staff are not included for payment

Universal services accessible to many or all people (for example those in a specific age group or living in certain locations) are not included in this scheme. Examples of this are the Youth Service and Flying Start.

Staff in umbrella organisations or organisations which do not provide frontline services directly to people with specific social care needs are not eligible for the payment. This includes, but is not restricted to WCVA, local voluntary associations, carers’ organisations.  

Jointly commissioned services:

For social care services jointly commissioned by social services and health, the lead agency will agree who will process the staff payments. For services commissioned by social services with another agency, the local authority will process the staff payments if the service is providing social care. Social care staff in substance misuse services commissioned by Area Planning Boards on behalf of local authorities are also included. Staff in services funded via the criminal justice system (Police and Crime Commissioners) are not eligible for payment. 

Staff included for payment:

Paid frontline staff directly providing the service and the line manager/ team manager are included for payment.  

Not included:

Middle and senior managers, ancillary staff, HR and all other ‘back office’ staff. 

CAFCASS CAFCASS staff are included for the payment. 
Meals at home services

Included for payment:
Frontline delivery staff in local authority Meals at Home services and an immediate line manager/ team manager are included. No other staff are included for payment.

Not included:
Staff from private meal delivery companies are not included. These services are available to everyone without any assessment of need (universal service). 

See question 3.

Registered care homes (adult care homes and children’s homes)  and secure accommodation services

Included for payment:

Care staff, Registered Manager and Responsible Individual, Activities Coordinator, administration staff working within the individual care home. Ancillary workers and other staff directly employed by the care home to provide services which involves contact with residents, such as therapy.

Contracted staff providing daily essential services at the home, such as the catering of daily meals.  

Not included:

Area managers, HR, training officers, maintenance crews and other staff providing support to more than one specific care home and not employed directly by  one specific care home.
 
Contracted staff providing other services; for example occasional catering or therapeutic services. Hairdressers, entertainers, trades people etc not employed by the care home.

Education staff in secure children’s centre and residential special schools (including teaching assistants and learning support assistants).

Staff from independent hospitals are not included in this part of the scheme as they are not commissioned social care services.

See question 4. 

Registered residential family centres

Included for payment:

Paid staff directly providing the social care service, and the immediate line manager.

Not included:

Senior managers, ancillary staff, business support and those undertaking back office functions.

Domiciliary support services 

Types of service:

Staff in domiciliary support services commissioned by local authority social services to provide personal care for people as a result of assessment of need are included. Domiciliary support services that solely provide services to people on a private basis are not included in this scheme.  

Staff included for payment:

Care workers, registered manager, co coordinators, administration staff working for that specific registered domiciliary support service and Responsible Individual. 

Staff not included:

Area managers, HR and other staff providing organisational support to more than one registered service.

Personal assistants and private carers

Included for payment:

Personal Assistants directly employed by the person receiving care and paid via direct payments from the local authority are included for the payment. 

Not included:

Care workers employed directly by the person receiving care without  direct payments from the local authority are not included for payment. Care workers employed by solicitors or court appointed deputies are not included for payment. 

See question 5.

Unpaid carers

Unpaid carers are not included in this payment, which is just for members of the paid workforce.

See question 6.

Foster carers and shared lives carers

Foster carers and shared lives carers receive an allowance and are not regarded as employees. As such, they are not included in this payment, which is just for members of the paid workforce. 

See question 6.

Childcare and play services These services are generally available to all children (universal services) and are not restricted to those in need of social care support. Staff from these services are not included for payment.

Questions on eligibility

1.    Why are some local authority housing staff included but staff in general social housing organisations excluded?

Local authority housing staff are not included in this social care recognition scheme – with the exception of local authority staff with dedicated roles to perform outreach work with homeless people, working on the streets and in emergency accommodation. These roles have a specific social care function with a vulnerable group of people. 

Support workers in supported accommodation are included as they are the frontline workers delivering support to people with specific vulnerabilities. Staff in general needs social housing provide support to tenants, but social housing is not regarded as a social care service as it is not specifically directed toward people with specific needs for care and support.

2.    Why are some staff included in extra care and supported living and not others and why is sheltered accommodation excluded?

Domiciliary care workers working within extra care and supported living are included as they work for a registered care provider delivering care and support to people with assessed needs for this service. People living in extra care and supported living are tenants and this is a different arrangement to care homes. We appreciate scheme managers, assistants and ancillary workers have continued to provide support to tenants during the pandemic. However, with the focus of the scheme on frontline staff delivering the bulk of care and support, staff outside of domiciliary care staff in extra care and supported living are not included. 

Social Services do not fund or commission the provision of sheltered accommodation. This is an entirely private arrangement and is available to anyone who meets basic criteria (universal service). We know wardens provide valuable support for people, however this does not meet the definition of social care for this scheme.  

3.    Why are some meals at home staff included and others not?

Most local authorities do not have their own meals at home service and signpost people to commercial food delivery services. These services are universally available and they do not meet the definition of social care for this scheme. A minority of local authorities have their own meals at home service and frontline delivery staff are included for payment. Catering and other staff are not included, due to the focus on frontline staff.

4    Why are more staff in care homes included than in extra care?

Care homes provide both personal care and accommodation and are regulated and inspected with regard to this. The accommodation element of extra care and supported living is not regulated, only the care element provided by a domiciliary care agency. Care homes are regarded as large households where people’s needs for personal care and accommodation have been assessed. 

Care home residents are reliant on ancillary staff to provide all meals and cleaning of their rooms. Tenants in extra care have cooking facilities within their accommodation (subject to risk assessment) and ancillary staff clean communal areas but not private accommodation. 

Payments do not extend to those providing services within care homes unless they are directly employed (other than contractors delivering daily essential services e.g. daily meals). 

Education services are provided in some registered care homes for children and in secure accommodation services. Education does not come under social care and staff providing education or support within education are not included in this scheme.

5.    Why are private carers not included in this scheme?

Some people employ a carer to provide them or a family member with assistance as an entirely private arrangement. There is no social services involvement, the service does not come under regulations to be inspected by Care Inspectorate Wales, and the service is entirely self-funded. Carers employed using criminal injuries or medical negligence monies are also not included in this scheme if these are also private arrangements not subject to local authority social services assessment or involvement. 

6.    Why are social work students, unpaid carers, foster carers and shared lives carers not included in this scheme?

This scheme focuses on the paid workforce and so these roles are not included. This is not intended to devalue these roles, but the scheme is aimed at people in social care employment.

Part two: Implementation

Welsh Government will supply guidance and claim forms to local authorities who will distribute these to employers. If you are likely to be eligible for payment, you will be asked to complete a claim form. You will be asked to confirm you are making only one claim for the payment as making more than one claim is likely to be considered as fraud. You will be asked to consent to your national insurance number to be shared with Data Cymru who are completing checks to prevent fraud.

Employers will identify agency workers who are eligible for payment and contact the relevant agency. You will complete a claim form and return to your agency. You will also be asked to consent for your data to be shared and to confirm you are only completing one claim form. This is especially important if you have worked for a number of services.

Employees and agency staff will also be asked if you wish to receive your payment in five instalments of £147. Please note, you can only do this if you are currently in social care employment. 

Employers request the relevant number of payments from the local authorities. For local authority employees, this will be completed internally. Local authorities provide £735 to employers and agencies for each eligible social care worker. Employers also claim additional costs for their contribution to national insurance and pension and receive a nominal administration fee.

Welsh Government then reimburses the local authorities for the payments they have made.

You will receive the payment in your pay check. We cannot say exactly when this will be as this depends on how quickly local authorities have arrangements in place to operate this scheme. However, we know local authorities are working at pace to deliver this bonus scheme on behalf of Welsh Government. Please be aware, we expect to make over 100,000 payments and so this may take a little time.

If you have concerns and questions, please speak to your employer in the first instance.

Part three: Appeals

Local authorities administer payments for the scheme on behalf of Welsh Ministers. This process applies when a claim for payment has been rejected by a local authority.

Stage 1 - Reconsideration

The employee/agency worker requests a reconsideration of the decision of the local authority by completing a Reconsideration Request form. A manager from the local authority undertakes the reconsideration and may: 

  • identify the applicant as eligible for the payment and make the necessary arrangements
  • identify the applicant as ineligible for the payment and issue a letter outlining the reasons for the decision
  • refer the matter to the Welsh Government Appeals Panel due to the complexity or individuality of the circumstances

The reconsideration process will be completed within 10 working days.

If the employee/ agency worker remains dissatisfied following stage 1, they have the right to escalate their appeal to stage 2. 

Stage 2 – Welsh Government appeals panel

The applicant completes the application form and sends to SocialCarePayment.Appeals@gov.wales. We will acknowledge receipt of applications.

The panel comprises Welsh Government officials, local authority representative, trade unions representative, employers’ representatives and an independent chairperson. The chairperson is an external individual not employed by any involved organisation. 

The panel has delegated authority from Welsh ministers to take decisions on appeals and may:

  • find the applicant eligible for the payment and issue the necessary instruction for payment
  • find the applicant ineligible for the payment and issue a letter outlining the reasons for the decision
  • refer the matter to Welsh minsters if the panel cannot make a confident decision.

The panel cannot change the eligibility criteria of the scheme. 

The stage 2 appeals process will be completed within 10 working days.

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