Coronavirus (COVID-19): social care staff support fund guidance

Guidance for social care workers and employers about the Social Care Staff Support Fund, that aims to ensure social care workers do not experience financial hardship if they are ill or self-isolating due to coronavirus.

Fund administration

Payments to social care workers

Social care employers, including personal assistant employers, are asked to pay eligible staff who meet all of the Fund criteria (section 4 above) their expected income* if they are absent, or have been absent, for the following reasons:

  • they are ill with confirmed or suspected coronavirus
  • they are self-isolating in line with public health guidance

*Expected income is regarded as the greater amount of the pay they would have received under their contract, or a week’s pay as defined in section 62 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Employers should be satisfied that all Fund criteria (section 4) have been met, and retain evidence of this in employment records. It is recommended employers ask social care workers to self-verify if they have, or are likely to, experience financial hardship as a result of their income being reduced. This can be verbally or in writing and should be recorded on the person’s employment record.

Reimbursement to employers

If an employer has paid out a sum of money to top up the income of an eligible worker to their expected income, that employer is entitled to seek reimbursement of that amount from the Fund.  In order to make a claim, an employer must verify that all the criteria (section 4) have been met. This amount may be reclaimed via the Health and Social Care Mobilisation Plans or monthly local authority return. Employers should request a claim form from the local authority or Integration Authority that commissions their service.

An employer is not entitled to seek the reimbursement of any costs from the Fund where they have received any payments or funding from a public body for that amount.

Payments to employers from the Fund will be made through existing public sector contracts and the COSLA and Health and Social Care Scotland National Principles for Sustainability Payments to Social Care Providers during COVID 19 (Select Principles for Social Care Sustainability Payments v4 from September 2020 from the Health and Social Care dropdown menu). This includes social care providers signing a declaration to confirm, among other conditions, that they will:

  • continue to employ and pay staff their normal pay in line with the terms of the Social Care Staff Support Fund
  • agree an open book basis between commissioners and providers where sustainability payments have been made, to ensure there is no duplication of support
  • on request, evidence that monies paid out have been used as intended.  Where it has not, monies paid out can be recovered by public bodies.

Where a personal assistant employer has paid out a sum from a Direct Payment (Self-directed Support Option 1) the Local Authority should increase the Direct Payment by the relevant amount and, correspondingly, ILF Scotland increase its award where relevant. A similar declaration to the one that exists for social care providers should be put in place for direct payment recipients who directly employ staff.

Administration of assurance

Where a social care worker does not believe they have received the payment due to them under this Fund they should, in the first instance write to their employer setting out their case. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved between the employer and employee they can submit a request for review to the Integration Authority (in respect of delegated services) or the Local Authority (in the case of all other services).

A social care worker may be asked to provide evidence that they meet the criteria to the Integration Authority or Local Authority commissioner. They can seek assistance from their Trade Union to approach their employer or the Integration Authority or Local Authority.

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