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Social Care Workforce Special Payment Scheme

​​​​​​The Welsh Government have introduced a scheme which recognises and rewards those who have worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. ​

The reward is a one-off payment of £500 which is subject to tax and National Insurance.

To receive this payment, care staff must have been employed in an eligible role during the period 15 March to 31 May 2020. This may include those who have since left eligible roles.

Care staff can only claim one payment regardless of the number of employers they worked for during this time period. 

We are writing to all employers of all eligible care staff, who will be responsible for identifying staff, distributing claim forms for completion by employees and submitting claims to the Local Authority. If you think you are eligible for payment please speak to your employer.

The deadline for all claims is 11th September 2020 and we will try to make payment by the end of October 2020.

This could be subject to change depending on volume of claims.








Appeals (Stage 1) - Reconsideration request form (155kb PDF)​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window

Appeals (Stage 2) - Application form (198kb PDF)​​​​​​​​​​​Link opens in a new window



Eligible staff roles​

To be eligible for this payment, staff must be:
  • a paid employee of a registered care home or domiciliary care service
  • an agency care worker
  • an agency nurse who has worked in the same setting for 12 weeks or more
  • a personal assistant paid through direct payments

Staff who work as/for contractors in care homes are not covered by this scheme.
 

Nature of employment

Staff must be part of the paid workforce. They can be:

  • full-time or part-time
  • subject to a zero hours employment contract
  • subject to a permanent or temporary contract
  • from a care agency

A member of staff who is summarily dismissed (gross misconduct) from their position is not eligible for the payment. If the dismissal is successfully appealed the care worker will become eligible for payment.
 

Requirement to be employed in relevant time period

This scheme is to reward staff employed in eligible social care roles during the relevant time period of 15 March to 31 May 2020. An eligible worker must have been employed, or engaged to work as an agency care workers, in a relevant care service for all, or part of, this time period. There is no minimum period specified. There are particular criteria for agency nurses outlined below.

Staff who were employed in eligible roles during the relevant time period but who were absent from work for the entire period due to illness, maternity leave, shielding, or due to a household member shielding, furlough etc will remain eligible for payment.

Staff in eligible roles who have worked from home for this time period will receive the payment, for example Personal Assistants providing support remotely.

Redeployment 

Staff who have been redeployed from an eligible role into a job role which is not included in the scheme will receive the payment as their substantive role is eligible. Staff who have been redeployed into a role which is eligible and who have worked for part or all of the relevant time period will receive the payment. The term ‘redeployment’ is applicable whether this was a formal or informal arrangement. 


Why will cooks, domestic and other staff in care homes receive this payment? 

Care homes operate as large households where many staff interact with residents and form relationships. During Covid-19, visitors to care homes have been restricted and there have been staff shortages. Ancillary staff in care homes have gone above and beyond their usual duties to assist with elements of care of people and have not been able to maintain social distancing.
 

I have been redeployed from my job elsewhere to work in a care home or for a domiciliary care service. Will I receive the payment?

You will receive the payment if you worked in a care home or as a domiciliary care worker for all, or part, of the period 15 March to 31 May 2020.
 

Why are nurses in care homes receiving this payment when other nurses don’t?

Nurses employed by care homes are an integral part of the staff team. This scheme is focussed on care home and domiciliary support services and does not include NHS staff or settings. 
 

I am a carer for a family member and receive Carer’s Allowance. Will I receive this payment?

This scheme focuses on the paid workforce and does not include unpaid carers. The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services has agreed funding of £50,000 to Carers Wales to extend provision of psychological support to carers. Welsh Government has established a new Third Sector Covid-19 Response Fund worth £24 million and carers will benefit from the services this funding aims to support. Welsh Government is exploring what additional support can be provided to carers.
 

What about Personal Assistants who live with the person receiving care, either because they are a family member or because they have moved in during lockdown?

The Personal Assistant will receive the payment if they have continued to be paid via direct payments.
 

I have left my job in a care home, will I still receive the payment?

If you worked in an eligible role for some or all of the period 15 March to 31 May 2020, you remain eligible for the payment. The exception to this is if you were summarily dismissed ie subject to instant dismissal for gross misconduct. You are eligible for one payment only.
 

I am employed to provide care and class myself as a Personal assistant. My employer pays me from their own money or from their benefits. Am I eligible for the payment?

The scheme is focused on those Personal Assistants providing care that has been identified as required by a local authority care and support plan for the cared for person. Direct payments are then made by the local authority to allow the individual to arrange their own care. The scheme does not include carers who are employed outside of these specific arrangements as described

They are responsible for:

  • identifying all eligible staff who were employed by them between 15 March 2020 and 31 May 2020,
  • issuing claim forms,
  • collecting claim forms and retaining them for audit/checking purposes,
  • sending a list of all eligible staff to their LA confirming they have received a claim form from all staff on the list (This list should identify staff directly employed by the provider and any agency staff), and 
  • supplying a list of names of agency staff along with the contact details for the agency.
  • Subject to LA agreement, the LA will provide £500 funding for each eligible, directly employed member of staff.
  • Providers should add £500 to the pay of all directly employed staff as part of their next payroll.
  • Following the payroll, the provider should submit a supplementary claim to the LA to cover the costs of any employer national insurance or pension costs.
  • Providing this supplementary claim is submitted promptly, reconciles with the list of names supplied and is accompanied by supporting evidence, the LA with provide funding for any employer national insurance or pension costs incurred.
  • Employers should make payments to their staff via payroll as quickly as possible but ideally before the end of October 2020.
  • Employers should submit complete claims for a care setting to their LA, partial claims will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances.
  • ​LAs should re-claim the funding they have provided to employers from the Welsh Government before the end of financial year.​

Evidence and validation of claims

  • LAs and Welsh Government must make all reasonable efforts to ensure all eligible staff receive the payment as quickly as possible.
  • LAs should check the number of staff claimed for is in line with the size of the care setting and undertake any further reasonable measures to verify the information they have received
  • The LA should maintain a master record of all eligible staff they have funded. This should include the NI numbers of all staff that have received the payment. This will help LAs guard against double payments in their areas.
  • One LA will take responsibility for maintaining a pan-Wales register of payments made to check for duplicate payments across LA boundaries. 
  • There will be an acceptance across LAs and employers of open book accounting has has been adopted successfully for other schemes.
  • Employers must retain the claim forms and may be asked to produce them as evidence.

Staff who have left employment

  • ​If an employer identifies anyone who is eligible for the payment but has subsequently left their employment they should send a claim form to them and process it alongside their existing workforce. The only exception to this is if the staff member was summarily dismissed (instant dismissal for gross misconduct). Once the claim form is received, the employer should follow the payroll procedure for reporting and making a ‘payment after leaving’ to HMRC. If the employee was given a P45 upon leaving, then the tax code to use is 0T Week1.
  • If no P45 has been issued then the employer should use the last known tax code.
  • For national insu​rance purposes a payment after leaving should be assessed using a weekly earnings period.
  • Where employers are unable to contact eligible staff who have left their employment the employer should notify their LA, but no funding will be provided for these staff until they have submitted a claim form. 

Staff not in work during the relevant period

  • Staff absent for the whole of the relevant time period due to long term illness, maternity leave, shielding or other reasons remain eligible for payments, and the claims for these staff should be processed as described in this guidance. 

Staged payments

  • ​Some employees may prefer to spread the payment over time to better suit their personal circumstances. There is an option to receive the payment in five equal £100 instalments over 5 successive months. All instalments must be paid before the end of March 2021. The employer must provide the LA with evidence once all five instalments have been paid. 
  • The decision whether to choose staged payments is for the employee only. Employers should not decide whether to make or not to make staged payments.
  • If an employee in receipt of a staged payment leaves employment before all of the payments have been made, the employee will receive all of their remaining payments as part of their final payroll.

Why do we need claim forms and what will happen to them? 

Claim forms are needed to provide evidence to confirm that both the employee and employer confirmed that the employee was eligible for the payment. To speed up the process and to avoid printing and postage costs claim forms can be sent to employees and returned electronically.
 

What checks are local authorities expected to do to validate claims?

Local authorities will be expected to check employer claims to establish whether the claim is in proportion to the size of the care setting.
 

What should the payment arrangements be between local authorities and care providers or agencies?

This is for local authorities to determine. They should seek to use existing payment mechanisms if possible.
 

How do employers prove the payments have been made?

Employers are asked to submit a completed form to the local authority. This should be accompanied by a financial report from the employers showing that the payments have been made.
 

How does an employer classify the income to fund these payments in their accounts?

The payments should be recognised in each employer’s accounts as a taxable income. Employers will be able to claim a matching deduction for employee costs, so there is no net effect on the employers overall taxable profit.
 

What happens if a care provider has multiple care settings in different LA areas?

The relevant local authorities and the care provider can, by mutual consent, agree for one local authority to lead on the payments for all settings for that care provider to reduce complexity and the administrative burden
 

What if a domiciliary support service is commissioned by multiple local authorities?

The domiciliary support services will need to collect signed claim forms from their staff and submit them to the relevant local authority. If domiciliary care staff provide care for more than one local authority the domiciliary care agency should ensure that only one claim form is submitted per employee and this should be to the local authority where the majority of the care is provided. Local authorities and domiciliary support services can, by mutual consent, agree for one local authority to lead on the payments for employees from a domiciliary support service to reduce complexity and the administrative burden.
 

Are these payments pensionable?

These payments are usually pensionable unless there is a condition in the employee’s terms and conditions of employment saying they are not. Employers are asked to check to ensure the payments are treated correctly.
 

How do employers determine and evidence employer National Insurance and pension costs?

NI If the employee’s payroll generates an NI cost of more than £69.00, the employer should include £69.00 as their additional NI cost on their claim form. If the employee’s payroll has generated an NI cost of less than £69.00, the employer should include the full cost of the employees NI on their claim form. If the employee’s payroll has not generated an NI cost, no NI cost should be included on their claim form. Pensions If the payment is pensionable under the employee’s terms and condition employers should calculate the total employers pension cost as a percentage of total pay before any deductions. Then apply this percentage to £500 and include this figure in their claim form.
 

What happens if an eligible care worker has been dismissed?

If an eligible care worker has been summarily dismissed they are not eligible to receive the payment. This is regardless of whether the dismissal was during the eligible period or after it. If this dismissal is overturned or found to be unfair they will be eligible to receive the payment. Employees in an eligible role who are dismissed following disciplinary process other than summary dismissal, remain eligible for the payment.
 

What happens if an eligible care worker has died?

The payment will be made to care worker’s estate. This payment will not influence or be influenced by any other Welsh Government funds established to assist the families of care workers that have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tax and national insurance and welfare benefits

HMRC confirmed these payments are regarded as earnings and will be liable for tax, national insurance contributions and student loan repayments. They will also be included in welfare benefits calculations.
 
All eligible staff will receive a taxable payment of £500 providing they complete and return a claim form to their employer.
 
The payments should be made through payroll to ensure the proper treatment of income tax and national insurance, and to facilitate the appropriate notifications to the Department for Work and Pensions.
 

Delivery process overview: Agency staff

  • ​LAs contact care providers asking them for a list of agency staff they employed between 15 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 and the agencies that supplied them. 
  • LAs contact agencies sending claim forms and requesting the agencies confirm the agency staff worked for the care providers between 15 March 2020 and 31 May 2020. 
  • Staff complete and submit claim forms to agencies. 
  • Agencies supply LAs with a list of eligible agency staff (who have submitted claim forms). This list should include the national insurance number for all eligible staff. 
  • LAs provide £500 funding to agencies for eligible agency staff. 
  • Agencies to add £500 to gross pay before deductions for eligible agency staff included on the list as part of next available payroll. 
  • Agencies should report these payments via a full payment submission to HMRC on or before the pay date. 
  • Agencies to send LAs confirmation of payroll payment including any actual employer national insurance or pension costs incurred. 
  • LAs to provide any supplementary funding to agencies for any employer national insurance and/or pension costs incurred. 

Delivery process overview: Staff employed directly by independent care providers

  • ​LAs contact care providers supplying them with claim forms and requesting a list of eligible directly employed staff. 
  • Staff complete and submit claim forms to care provider. 
  • Care providers supply LAs with a list of eligible directly employed staff (who have submitted claim forms). 
  • LAs provide £500 funding to care providers for each eligible member of staff on the list. 
  • Care providers to add £500 to gross pay before deductions for eligible staff included on the list as part of next available payroll. 
  • Care providers should report these payments via a full payment submission to HMRC on or before the pay date. 
  • Care providers to send LAs confirmation of payroll payment including any actual employer national insurance or pension costs incurred. 
  • LAs to provide any supplementary funding to care providers for any employer national insurance and/or pension costs incurred.​

Delivery process overview: Domiciliary support services 

  • The LA will contact all domiciliary care agencies they commission and supply claim forms and request a list of eligible staff. 
  • Domiciliary care agencies should forward the claim form to their eligible staff. 
  • Staff complete and submit claim forms to agency. 
  • Agencies supply the LA with a list of eligible staff (who have submitted claim forms). 
  • The LA provides £500 funding to agencies for each eligible member of staff on the list. 
  • Agencies add £500 to gross pay before deductions for eligible staff included on the list as part of next available payroll. 
  • Agencies should report these payments via a full payment submission to HMRC on or before the pay date. 
  • Agencies send the LA confirmation of payroll payment including any actual employer national insurance or pension costs incurred.
  • LAs to provide any supplementary funding to care providers for any employers national insurance and/or pension costs incurred.

Delivery process overview: Personal Assistants (PAs) 


  • LAs identify PAs paid directly by their employer (the person in receipt of care). 
  • LAs issue claim forms to the employer asking them to forward them to their PA (providing they are eligible).
  • PA must complete and submit claim forms to their employer (the person in receipt of care). LAs will provide £500 funding to the employer for each eligible personal assistant. 
  • The employer should add £500 to gross pay before deductions for eligible PAs as part of the next available payroll. 
  • Employers should report these payments via a full payment submission to HMRC on or before the pay date. 
  • Employers should confirm the payment to the LA and claim and any employer national insurance or pension costs incurred.

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.

The appeals process is a two-stage process.
 

Stage 1 - Reconsideration 

The care 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:

  • Worker requests a reconsideration of the decision of the local authority 
  • A form is completed identifying which of the eligibility criteria the person believes makes them eligible.
  • The reconsideration is undertaken by the LA. We will issue an advisory note so LAs take a consistent approach to this stage.
  • If an error has been made and/or the care worker is identified as eligible, LA arranges for the payment 
  • If the LA continues to determine the worker as ineligible, the LA will send a letter to the person indicating the rationale for the decision (template provided). The individual is informed they can submit a request to go to Stage 2.
  • If the LA is unclear, due to complexity/individuality of circumstances, the LA will refer to Stage 2 and inform the individual worker.
  • Timescale for outcome of Stage 1 – 10 working days.

Stage 2 – Welsh Government Appeals Panel ​ 

  • The Welsh Government Panel considers appeals following completion of the Stage 1 reconsideration, where people wish to pursue. The LA may refer to the Panel itself, where it does not feel able to make the decision due to complexity/uncertainty.
  • The Scheme Coordinator will log referrals and monitor timescales and process.
  • The Terms of Reference of the Appeals Panel stipulates it cannot change the eligibility criteria of the scheme.
  • There will be a clear rationale recorded for each decision and a template letter sent to the individual worker and copied to their employer and the relevant LA.


  • The Scheme Coordinator will disseminate learning to LAs of decisions made and coordinate amends to FAQs accordingly.
  • Timescale for outcome of Stage 2 – 10 working days from outcome of Stage 1. 






















 

Decision making

The Appeals Panel has delegated authority from Welsh Ministers to take decisions on appeals. The Chair will seek for the Panel to reach consensus. Where the Chair takes the view the Panel cannot make a confident decision, the matter will be referred to Welsh Ministers. 

Welsh Ministers will make a decision subsequent to gaining further advice and information necessary. This process is likely to be delegated to a Deputy Director within the Civil Service.

Composition of the Appeals Panel


The Appeals Panel is effectively a task and finish group where Ministers can make appointments without consultation. No remuneration will be made. The Panel comprises Welsh Government representative, local authority representative, Wales TUC representative, provider representative and Chair. The Panel can seek legal advice from WG Legal Services. 

All representatives will be asked to declare conflicts of interest and absent themselves from hearing those appeals. Representatives will have identified colleagues who will cover in such circumstances.

Frequency of Panels


It is difficult to predict demand but timely decision making is important to avoid unnecessary wait time for those involved. We propose weekly Panels. These will be cancelled where there is no business.​

Timescale of Panels


Date for the first Panel is dependent on date when first payments made. We cannot predict increase or decrease of referrals to Panel over time as it is likely care workers will be paid over a number of months.

Resource considerations

Scheme Coordinator responsibilities:

  • ​Monitors dedicated mailbox which is single point of contact for LAs
  • Receives and tracks referrals
  • Organises Panels/sends out advance papers
  • Sends out decision letters
  • Disseminates learning and developments to LAs and updates FAQ’s/guidance to LAs for consistency of decision-making.​
  • Manages direct correspondence from individuals about the process – redirecting to LA​

​Estimated resource required to fulfil this role, which would run mid-August to end December estimated at 1.5 days per week. There would likely be variation in workload across this period. A Scheme Coordinator has been identified from within the Workforce Policy team.​​

Chair: 

The appointed Chair will:

  • be an external individual, who is not employed by Welsh Government, a local authority or a relevant social care provider,
  • have an understanding of social care and how care provision is structured,
  • have skills and experience of participating in and chairing multi-disciplinary meetings​
  • be confident in conducting Panels using Microsoft Teams​
  • not have an identifiable conflict of interest 
  • have good professional communication and organisational skills, understanding of confidentiality issues and is committed to the promotion of equality through their work.



The resource required to fulfil this role is estimated at 0.5 days per week for several months. There would likely be variation in workload across this period. 


Further steps

  • In very exceptional circumstances, the Panel may indicate it cannot make a decision within the terms of the existing guidance and an exception or amendment to the guidance will be considered by Welsh Ministers.
  • ​A person who continues to be discontent with the decision-making on their payment may request a Judicial Review.  ​

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