Covid sick pay enhancement scheme for social care workers comes to an end in Wales

After August 31, social care workers in Wales will not receive full pay while they are off ill with Covid. Credit: PA

A scheme that ensured social care workers received full pay, rather than sick pay if they were off ill with Covid, has come to an end.

The Welsh Government-funded Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement initiative finished on 31 August 2022.

Under the scheme, if a social care worker was required to self-isolate or stay at home because of Covid, they were still paid in full.

The Health Minister Eluned Morgan MS said this had importantly helped support staff and infection prevention for some of the most vulnerable people in society throughout the pandemic.

Between November 2020 and June this year it has provided £8.3m in financial support to those in the social care sector.

A statement from the Health Minister reads: "As we begin our transition from a period of pandemic emergency response to recovery, it is appropriate we bring this temporary scheme to an end. Consequential funding from the UK Government for the Covid response has ceased.

"We will continue to look at how best we can promote greater occupational sick pay in the independent social care sector."

She reassured that recent data shows Covid cases decreasing in the community and that social care staff and residents at care homes for older adults would be prioritised for the Covid-19 autumn booster.

Social care workers currently have access to free lateral flow tests, so they can test regularly even if asymptomatic. Credit: PA

She said: "This will provide social care staff and our most vulnerable citizens with increased protection."

Ms Morgan also added that Welsh Government are currently reviewing policy on asymptomatic testing of social care staff. She said an announcement on this will be made "shortly".

Currently it is "strongly recommended" that all asymptomatic public-facing health and social care staff take a lateral flow test twice a week. They can get these tests for free through their employer.