Q&A for payments to HSC Staff and Students
£500 FOR HSC STAFF
Who qualifies for the payment?
Everyone on the Business Service Organisation payroll – including doctors, community dentists, Agenda for Change staff
Non-Executive Directors are not included.
Staff dismissed for misconduct will not be eligible.
Staff on a career break for the duration of the qualifying period will not be eligible.
Do staff in the Independent sector qualify?
Yes. Work is ongoing to establish payment methods for the Independent Sector and Primary Care.
Are those in the Voluntary sectors included?
The Department fully appreciates the contribution of those in the voluntary sectors, however, this scheme is for recognition of employed workers, with a proportionate payment of up to £500 based on verified hours worked. Those in the voluntary sectors are therefore not included.
Do staff working in community pharmacy qualify?
Yes. The scheme includes community pharmacists and their staff. Work is ongoing to establish the number of eligible staff that meet the criteria, and to establish payment methods.
Do staff working in GDS dental practices qualify?
Yes, the scheme includes GDS dentist and dental teams, including clinical staff e.g. dental nurses, administrative staff and practice managers. Work is ongoing to establish the number of eligible staff that meet the criteria and to establish payment methods.
Do staff working in opticians qualify?
Yes, the scheme includes community optometrists and their optometry practice teams, including administrative staff and practice managers. Work is ongoing to establish the number of eligible staff that meet the criteria and to establish payment methods.
The payment is “non-consolidated”. What does that mean?
Non-consolidated means it is not pensionable and does not create a new baseline for future pay calculations. However, tax and national insurance are payable on the sum. The payment will not increase any hourly rates.
Do I have to apply for this payment?
No, it’ll be processed and paid to all those that meet the eligibility criteria.
Will this payment be included in my holiday pay calculation?
No, the additional £500 stands in isolation and will not be included in the calculation of any payment which is based on a reference period, such as holiday pay, sick pay or occupational maternity pay.
When will I receive my payment?
Payments will be processed urgently however given the complexity of calculating individual bonuses, it is likely to be the new financial year before payments are made.
Will my benefits be affected if I receive this payment?
The Department of Health is currently clarifying with the Department for Communities if this payment can be excluded from income assessed for benefits.
I was part time during the qualifying period and worked additional hours, will this be reflected in my payment?
Yes, your part time hours, including additional hours worked, will be averaged over the qualifying period. Your payment will therefore be based on your average hours worked per week, pro rata to the full time payment of £500.
I was full time during the qualifying period and worked overtime, will this be reflected in my payment?
No, overtime hours above full time are excluded for the purpose of the calculating the payment. Your payment will be capped at £500.
I worked full time and part time during the qualifying period, how will this affect my payment?
A pro rata calculation will be done, based on the period you were full time and the period you were part time. Any excess hours worked when you were part time will also be taken into account.
Will I receive this payment if I have left or retired?
Everyone who meets the qualifying criteria is eligible for the payment. In this case at least one month’s continuous service in HSC NI between 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021 is required. Former HSC NI staff who retired between 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021 are eligible, providing they meet the qualifying criteria. Leavers/retirees who are due a payment will be contacted to advise of this and to confirm bank details.
Will I receive this payment if I left one Trust and commenced employment in another Trust?
Providing you meet the qualifying criteria in either of your employments then you will receive the payment, but will be capped at £500 if appropriate.
What about situations where someone has died in service or left and subsequently died?
Everyone who meets the qualifying criteria is eligible for the payment. In this case at least one month’s continuous service between 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021 is required. In situations where staff died in service between 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021 or left in that time having fulfilled the qualifying criteria and subsequently died, the payment would be payable to their estate.
The payment is capped at £500. How will the service prevent someone who has moved post during the qualifying period receiving two payments in excess of £500
Payments to HSC staff are made through Business Services Organisation (BSO) and will use National Insurance numbers as a unique identifier.
I am a student on an HSC course. Will I receive the payment?
Students who had paid contracts during the qualifying period, providing they meet the other qualifying criteria, will be eligible.
Students on normal placements for their courses will not be eligible as they are not directly employed during this time. These students do however qualify for the student recognition payment.
I left half way through the qualifying period. How will my payment be worked out?
For staff who left during the qualifying period, providing they had at least one month’s continuous service during the period 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021, the payment will be worked out according to their average hours during the qualifying period.
I started employment half way through the qualifying period. How will my payment be worked out?
For staff who joined during the qualifying period, providing they have at least one month’s continuous service during the period 17 March 2020 and 31 January 2021, the payment will be worked out according to their average hours during the qualifying period.
I have been employed in the HSC as an agency worker, will I receive payment?
Work is ongoing to examine qualifying criteria and potential mechanisms for payments to longer term agency workers.
£2,000 RECOGNITION PAYMENT FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE STUDENTS
Which students qualify for this payment?
Students on specified pre-registration health and social care programmes over the period 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021. These programmes are:
Nursing and Midwifery courses provided by QUB and Ulster University (i.e. not the salaried option provided by the Open University)
AHP: Dietetics, Speech and Language Therapy, Podiatry, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Radiography
What is this payment for?
This is a special recognition to healthcare students who have undertaken supernumerary clinical placements in HSC that have contributed to the delivery of health and social care during the unique and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am a 1st year student. Do I qualify?
The £2k special recognition payment is for qualifying students in years 1-3 who have been on qualifying health and social care programmes over the period clinical placement between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.
Do I have to apply for this payment?
No. The Department of Health is working with Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University to identify all eligible students. Speak to your Course Supervisor if you have any doubts that is happening.
Is this a pro-rata payment; that is, linked to my length of time on a qualifying programme?
No, this is a set amount which you will receive provided you meet the qualifying criteria.
Will the payment be taxed?
The Department of Health’s intention is that this payment is not subject to tax or other deductions. However, this is a matter to be confirmed by HMRC.
Will my benefits be affected if I receive this payment?
The Department of Health is currently clarifying with the Department for the Communities whether this payment can be excluded from income-assessed benefits.
I am on an Allied Health Professional programme, will this payment have any adverse effect my entitlement to student support?
The Education Authority has advised that all DOH support paid by them to AHP students at Ulster University, including the means-tested bursary and supplementary grants, plus any Reduced Rate Maintenance Loan paid by the Student Loans Company, should not be affected by this one-off acknowledgement payment.
When will I receive it?
Payments will be processed urgently and it is hoped that all cases will be completed by May 2021.
How will the payment be made?
Payment arrangements will vary according to the healthcare programme you are on. The details are still being developed.
Nursing and midwifery students will receive it via BSO who process bursaries. AHP and Physician Associate students will receive payment via Ulster University.
Social work students will receive payment via the Department’s Office for Social Services.
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