NHS Pay differences Covid Special Leave and normal Sick Leave: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  • Can you advise of any difference between NHS Covid Special Leave Pay and Normal NHS Sickness Absence Pay from 2020 till now?
  • Would staff on sickness absence have pay calculated under the Absence Policy for both Covid Special Leave and Normal Sickness Absence?
  • Would using the Absence Policy to calculate pay result in the same amount of absence pay if on Covid Special Leave or Normal Sickness Absence?
  • Are they both paid using the same Absence Policy, Section 14 of the Agenda for Change Policy?
  • Do these policies apply to staff employed by The Scottish Ambulance Service?


Both Covid Special Leave and Sick Leave are paid in Scotland based on “full pay”, as defined in Section 14 of the Handbook.

Section 14 of the Scottish Agenda for Change Handbook sets out sick leave arrangements for Agenda for Change staff in Scotland and section 14.4 clarifies the definition of full pay as “what the individual would have received had he/she been at work”. The specific methodology of how this is calculated is set locally in partnership.

On 31 August 2022, the arrangement which provided indefinite Special Leave for COVID-19 sick absence ended in Scotland and from that date COVID-19 absence was covered by Section 14 of the Agenda for Change Handbook and the relevant Workforce Polices as with all other sick leave for Agenda for Change staff. This was confirmed to the service by DL(2022)21.

All the polices referred to above apply across NHS Scotland, including the Scottish Ambulance Service.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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