Around 154,000 NHS staff are to receive an interim pay increase next month “in recognition of an exceptional year of significant pressure.”
Backdated to 1st December, the Scottish government has made the commitment ahead of further pay negotiations set to conclude in the summer between ministers and unions.
All NHS nurses, paramedics, healthcare support staff and allied health professionals are in line for the pay rise.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “The NHS is founded on the hard work, professionalism and dedication of our staff and I and millions across Scotland are hugely and constantly impressed by, and grateful for, their skill and commitment, particularly given the added and sustained pressure placed on the service by covid-19.
“I have been clear that I am committed to securing a pay settlement that is fair, affordable, and sustainable.
“However, I am conscious that now there will inevitably be a wait for the 2021-22 Agenda for Change pay negotiations to conclude.
“So, in advance of the formal pay settlement, we will implement an interim 1% ‘payment on account’ from the 1st December 2020, which will then be built upon by the full settlement when the negotiations conclude.
The cancelled UK Budget, replaced by a spending review published just before Christmas, is blamed for the delay in the government’s ability to conclude full pay negotiations earlier.
In November UNISON members campaigned outside the Scottish Parliament for a pay rise before Christmas. For 2021 the union is looking to secure a £2,000 pay rise for all staff.
Ms Freeman added: “We want to agree the full pay settlement negotiations as quickly as is practicable. This interim step, alongside the one-off £500 bonus, should make clear that we want to support our staff regardless of the impact of the UK Government’s delay to the budget.
“Both this interim increase and the full settlement will, once agreed, then be topped up in due course as necessary to ensure the final settlement is fully backdated to December 2020.”
By Sarah Nimmo.