COVID-19 staff information

Social Care workforce payment

The Scottish Government announced on 30 November 2020 a one-off £500 pro rata payment for health and social care staff on the frontline throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is a thank you to staff employed in adult social care and children’s residential care. The Scottish Government wishes to recognise the extraordinary effort that health and social care staff have made during the pandemic.

Further information on the payment is available on the government website.

Guidance for Local Authorities including eligibility criteria is available on the government website.

Those who work full time or part time and with any type of contract are eligible for the payment. So long as you were employed for at least four continuous weeks between 17 March 2020 and 30 November 2020. This includes if you have a permanent or temporary contract, if your contract is for set hours, casual or zero hours. You will be liable for tax, national insurance contributions, student loan repayments, and tax credits, where appropriate on this payment.

You will still get a payment if you are eligible but were:

  • shielding
  • on sick leave
  • on maternity
  • paternity
  • adoption leave
  • furloughed

In most cases we will be able to make this payment to you through your normal payroll in May without any information from you.

If you have more than one employer, left your role, retired or receive benefits we may need to make a change to your payment.

Please read the information below and notify us as soon as possible if we need to make a change to your payment by emailing we need this information by 20 May 2021.

We can spread the payment to you over a period of three months if this reduces the impact it has on your benefits. You need to notify us by the 20 May 2021 if you want us to do this by emailing, clearly stating your name and employee number.

The £500, pro-rata, thank you bonus payment is being paid by your employer on behalf of the Scottish Government. The payments are made in accordance with the eligibility criteria set by the Scottish Government. If you are unhappy with the initial determination on the payment and require clarification, you can email

How to complain: frontline resolution

If you are still dissatisfied with the initial explanation on the £500 thank you payment, please contact the Scottish Government. They will work with you to resolve it.

Any issues that arise should be reported to for resolution, fill out the form.

The Scottish Government aim to resolve your complaint informally within five working days. If they can't resolve the issue, you can take your complaint to stage two of the complaints procedure.

If you are not satisfied: investigation

  • email
  • write to Scottish Government, Complaints, 1E.10, St Andrew's House, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG

An Investigating Officer will be appointed to prepare a comprehensive report and, if they have got things wrong, will recommend improvements.

They will:

  • acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • where appropriate, discuss the complaint with you to understand why you remain dissatisfied and what outcome you are looking for
  • give you a full response as soon as possible and within 20 working days

They will tell you if their investigation will take longer and will agree revised time limits with you. After they have fully investigated, and you remain dissatisfied, you then have the option of asking the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman (SPSO) to investigate your complaint.

Independent investigation of your complaint: ombudsman

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about public services in Scotland and may be able to independently take up a complaint on your behalf. The Ombudsman will normally only be able to act if you have followed the steps above.

To find out about the Ombudsman's work, visit the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman website, or write to the office Freepost SPSO (this is all you need write on the envelope, and you do not need to use a stamp).

Further information

I have more than one social care employer

This is a £500 pro rata payment and the maximum payable is £500. It is your responsibility to make sure that if you work for more than one social care employer and work more than full time, that you do not receive more than the maximum payable of £500.

You should notify one of your employers that you work more than full time and ask for your payment to be reduced from that employer.

You should also notify your employer of any duplicate or excessive payments that you have received.

I have left adult social care or residential childcare

It is the responsibility of staff to contact the employer if they are eligible for the payment to request this. 

If you were employed in adult social care or children’s residential care for a minimum of four continuous weeks between 17 March and 30 November 2020 but have since left or retired you are eligible. Payment will be processed as a payment after leaving with tax payable on the full amount and National Insurance payable using the weekly threshold as per Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidelines. If this does result in an overpayment of tax it is your responsibility to claim this back from HMRC.

Payments cannot be made to staff who were summarily dismissed (instant dismissal for gross misconduct).

Payment will be made to the bank account details held on file as at the date of leaving, if you have changed these since leaving Scottish Borders Council you will need to advise us of your new bank details.

Requests for payment should be made via email to with payment made in the next available payroll run.

State Benefits or Tax Credits

If you are in receipt of benefits you should get advice about what impact the payment may have on your benefits.

If you receive Universal Credit you need to notify your work coach of the change in circumstances in order to avoid any overpayments which may result in issues with your payment.

If you receive Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be automatically alerted if you if you receive a payment from your employer alongside your salary.

The payment will be treated as earnings for the month it is received and might reduce or stop your Universal Credit award for that month. Your Universal Credit will stop for more than one month if earnings including the payment are more than £2.5k above the level that stops your Universal Credit.

It may also affect future entitlement to Universal Credit.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

It may also affect any benefits that you are entitled to as a result of receiving Universal Credit, such as Scottish Child Payment, Best Start Grant and Funeral Support Payment.

If you receive Tax Credits

The payment will be treated by HMRC as earnings for the tax year 2020-21 and might affect the amount of your tax credits award.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

If you asked HMRC for an increased tax credits award based on estimated lower earnings for the tax year 2020-21, this estimate may be too low when the one-off payment is added to your actual earnings. That could mean an overpayment of tax credits which HMRC would usually require to be repaid.

When you send your tax credits annual review form, or are asked to complete an annual declaration form, you should check that the earnings figure includes this payment, if you receive it.

If you are receiving Legacy Benefits other than Tax Credits

If you are receiving other ‘legacy benefits’ your entitlement could be affected. If your entitlement ends as a result, you will not be able to claim these benefits again and will need to claim Universal Credit instead if you still need support.

You should get advice as soon as possible before receiving the payment.

Legacy benefits are:

  • Housing Benefit (if you are under pension age)
  • Income Suppor
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you receive a Council Tax Reduction

If you currently receive a Council Tax Reduction, and have been paid either a lump sum payment or have selected to receive this payment by three monthly instalments you should contact your local authority to make them aware of this payment. This will make sure that this payment does not reduce your level of Council Tax Reduction. As your local authority may request verification of the payment you have received, please retain your payslip for this purpose. If you do not tell your local authority your level of Council Tax Reduction may reduce or stop.

Other Benefits that may be affected

The following benefits may also be affected:

  • Pension credit
  • Carer’s allowance

If you want to find out more about how this payment may affect your benefits or tax credits, then contact: