The Welsh government says the move will recognise the “extraordinary contribution” of the healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wales Online reports the decision will benefit more than 220,000 people, including the nation’s 103,600 social care staff, 90,000 NHS Wales staff, 2,345 deployed students and 26,000 primary care staff.
Therefore it is estimated more than £160million will be paid in the bonuses altogether next month, after the scheme was finalised with support from local authorities and trade unions.
Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Over the last year, Wales’ NHS staff and social care staff have shown a remarkable amount of commitment and courage from the initial outbreak of the pandemic right through to the current second wave.
“They will have suffered the impacts of the pandemic on their physical and mental health wellbeing in both their personal and professional lives.
“This payment expresses our gratitude to our NHS and social care workforce for their extraordinary contribution in keeping Wales safe.”
The bonus is further to the £500 special payment for care home and domiciliary care workers announced in May 2020 to recognise their work through the first wave of the pandemic.
This bonus will be made to a wider group of social care workers including local authority social services staff.
Mr Gething added: “I want to be clear that this is not linked to the current issue of NHS pay – we have submitted our evidence to the independent pay review bodies, without an arbitrary cap on pay, and we await their recommendations.”
In response, BMA Cymru Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said: “We welcome this gesture as an acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by doctors and other NHS workers in Wales who have been stretched to the very limits during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are pleased to see their tireless commitment has been recognised.
“Whilst this payment is gratefully received, this is separate and in addition to the DDRB process, which reviews doctors annual pay award, and we reiterate our calls for a significant pay uplift for doctors which would address the real term pay erosion over the past decade.”
Paul Summers, Unison Cymru Wales lead officer for health, said: “Unison led the drive for a Covid bonus for health and social care employees and we are very pleased the Welsh Government has recognised these workers have given absolutely everything to help keep families safe during the pandemic.
“This is a really timely boost for worn-out low-paid NHS and care staff.
“The Welsh Government’s actions are in stark contrast to the insulting approach of the Conservative UK government to NHS and care staff and we thank the health and social services minister for working with Unison and the other trade unions.
“But this is only the start and we will continue to argue for all NHS Agenda for Change staff to receive a minimum £2,000 pay rise as part of the Unison #OneTeam2k campaign.”