Pay and COVID Workforce Issues Update March 2021

Local Government (LG) Pay 

Please see above a copy of a letter we have received from COSLA following our representations about the lack of any offer at this time.  It’s clear there is no movement until after the Scottish Government’s budget has been finalised.   

We understand that a special meeting of COSLA leaders is being convened, after the third reading of the Scottish Government budget, on 12th March with a meeting of the SJC Steering Group to be convened for the following week.  We will as always keep you abreast of any developments. 

LG Finance/Plug The Gap Campaign 

  • As we enter the final weeks of budget negotiations we would ask that all members please do try to make another push on getting members to contact their MSPs about our campaign to PlugTheGap


  • The ‘Big Blether’ for support staff took place on Friday and was, we hope, really helpful for all who participated.  The session was recorded for those who were not able to attend the session and it can be viewed here.
  • The FM announced this week that, subject to continued progress on suppressing the virus, all remaining primary school children are set to return to school full-time from 15 March, with all secondary pupils returning on a part-time basis from that date.  Regulated childcare, including breakfast and after-school clubs, for primary pupils will also re-start on 15 March as part of the Phase 2 return.   Updated schools safety guidance to support the phased return will be published next week though an advisory note from the Advisory Sub-Group on Education and Children’s Issues providing advice on school transport, outdoor learning, community transmission, the impact of school closures and staff safety and well-being was published today – you can read that here .

WIG Update 

  • Long Covid – a special meeting is being set up to look in detail at how this should be treated for the purpose of attendance management procedures.  We continue to argue that the principals in the Fair Work statement re no-detriment for Covid related absence should apply.  
  • We raised again the issue of the £500 bonus payment and asked when H&SC staff employed by LG might expect to get it paid.  Following receipt of legal advice and a ‘letter of comfort’ from the Scottish Government underwriting any legal liabilities COSLA Leaders have now apparently agreed to make the payment.  COSLA are now finalising the guidance that will be issued with this and we have requested sight of it in advance.  It is likely payments will be made in April but we’ll confirm as soon as we know. 
  • Homeworking allowance – the JTUs had quite a heated exchange with COSLA on this issue.  It followed rejection of a collective grievance in Glasgow where the council argued, amongst other things, that the payment of the HMRC £6pw allowance was a matter for national negotiation with COSLA and COSLA again seeking to argue that it was a matter for individual authorities. 

Confidential mental health support for Health and social care staff 
Health and social care professionals will have access to a new specialist service offering confidential mental health assessment and treatment. 

The Workforce Specialist Service will be delivered by experts with experience in treating a range of issues such as stress, anxiety, depression or addiction, with a focus on the impact this may have on a person’s work. 

A multidisciplinary team will support anyone who belongs to one of the regulated professions within health and social care.  

It is the latest part of a package of resources available to these workers, including the National Wellbeing Hub, the National Wellbeing Helpline and specific psychological services provided by health boards at a local level.  More information here.