UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON acknowledges the Health Ministers decision to award a special recognition payment to staff delivering health services. This is not a formal employer/union agreement and there are elements of its implementation which are outside our control. However, UNISON will seek to influence how the payment will be rolled out.

Two main areas have been raised by UNISON: 
Agency staff - We welcome the inclusion of agency workers ie those contracted to HSC posts on AFC terms and conditions.
Part time staff - We continue to challenge this and have called for these staff to receive the full bonus.

Low paid health workers will be disappointed with the decision to apply the Ministers special recognition payment on a pro rata basis.

Tax paid on the £500, or a lower amount for many part time workers, will count against the Universal Credit benefits the majority of care workers receive because their pay is so low and will reduce the amount being paid.

We are aware that elsewhere across the UK where devolved Ministers have made a similar payment, efforts have been made with the UK Treasury to mitigate the impact of tax. UNISON contacted the UK Prime Minister directly asking him to ‘do the right thing’ for workers by allowing them to keep a pandemic bonus in full. The reply was no.

Nevertheless, UNISON in Northern Ireland will continue to press our Department of Finance to press the UK treasury to take steps to reduce the impact of tax deductions.

We attach a link to the FAQs issued by the Department of Health - https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/hsc-staff-recognition-payment-faqs