5. Section 5(1)(b)(iv) - support to persons who are required to self-isolate for a reason relating to coronavirus
5.1 Section 5(1)(b)(iv) requires Ministers to provide their view of the effect of the Extension and Expiry Act on support available to persons who are required to self-isolate for a reason relating to coronavirus.
5.2 By virtue of section 5(2) (d), the report must include information on the support available to persons who are required to self-isolate for a reason relating to Covid-19 and any plans for further support for such persons the Scottish Ministers propose to put in place.
Support for persons required to self-isolate
5.3 The Social Care Staff Support Fund ("the Fund") was established in June 2020 under the Social Care Staff Support Fund (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which in turn were made using powers in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020. The Fund was set up to ensure that eligible social care workers receive their expected income if they are off ill or self-isolating as a result of Covid-19.
5.4 The Fund, accessed via employers, prevents social care staff from experiencing financial hardship where they face restricted ability to work due to Covid-19 and loss of income where they are paid statutory sick pay or another amount that is less than their normal pay.
5.5 The Extension and Expiry Act extends the power for the Scottish Ministers to maintain the Fund and make regulations in relation to it until the end of March 2022 with the possibility for Ministers to extend that further until September 2022. The Extension and Expiry Act does not contain powers relating to support for self-isolation. The Extension and Expiry Act does not, in itself, change the support available to people under the Fund.
5.6 Beyond the Fund, the Extension and Expiry Act does not have any effect on support provided to people asked to self-isolate for reasons relating to Covid-19. Support for people who are asked to self-isolate is provided by other means or under other legislation.
5.7 For example, the principal source of financial support is provided through the Self-Isolation Support Grant ("SISG"). The SISG provides £500 for workers who will lose income as a result of self-isolating and are in receipt of Universal Credit or other low income benefits, earning the Real Living Wage or lower or whose family income is within 25% of Universal Credit rates. The SISG is delivered as part of the Scottish Welfare Fund, using powers under the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015.
5.8 Practical support continues to be available including support with access to food, essential medication or other local and voluntary services provided locally. In addition, the Scottish Government continues to fund the National Assistance Helpline and the Local Self-Isolation Assistance Service, ensuring pro-active and reactive phone calls to people self-isolating to ensure they can access practical and financial support they require whilst self-isolating.
5.9 As set out above, there is ongoing support for people who are asked to self-isolate, however this is not provided under Extension and Expiry Act. The Act does not, in itself, change the support available to people under the Fund.