Prison officers will get £4,100 extra for doing nine hours a week more during Covid-19 crisis while nurses get nothingCovid-19 ‘Special Payment Schemes’ were introduced by HMPPS on March 23Offered prison staff £4,126 bonus for nine hour overtime per week over 12 weeks No such bonus schemes are known to have been implemented for nursing staff Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Prison officers will be paid up to £4,100 extra for working nine hours per week more throughout the coronavirus crisis, it has been revealed. 

Documents supplied to the Prison Reforms Trust UK and Howard League show Covid-19 ‘Special Payment Schemes’ were introduced on March 23 to ‘support prison and probation services and safeguard staff and offenders’ through the pandemic. 

The schemes offered prison staff the chance to earn an additional £4,126 over a 12-week period, or £1,292 over four weeks, for working nine hours of weekly overtime.

No such bonus schemes are known to have been implemented for nursing staff on the frontline of the crisis, many of whom have previously reported working overtime at least once a week.  

Documents show Covid-19 ‘Special Payment Schemes’ were introduced on March 23 to ‘support prison and probation services and safeguard staff and offenders’ through the pandemic (stock image)

The NHS provides all staff, in pay bands 1 to 7, with a ‘harmonised rate of time-and-a-half for all overtime’, with public holidays instead paid at double time. 

However, a survey by the Royal College of Nursing published last November found 54 per cent of nurses who worked additional hours reported these were unpaid.      

The bonus totals for prison officers include normal hourly payment plus rates alongside an extra £500 for staff who work nine additional hours per week over four weeks, or £1750 over 12 weeks.

The scheme is available to operational prison staff in any establishment where additional hours have been required due to staff absence related to coronavirus, the document from HMPPS states.

Staff who enter the bonus payment scheme must complete all additional hours before June 30, though officers will have the ability to work extra hours later if they are prevented from doing so by a need to self-isolate or care for others affected by Covid-19.

Non-operational prison staff and Operational Support Grades have also been offered a similar scheme, with the chance to earn a bonus payment of £400 or £1,500 for nine additional hours of work per week over a four or 12-week period. 

No such bonus schemes are known to have been implemented for nursing staff on the frontline of the crisis (Pictured: A nurse in PPE in London on April 18)

A survey by the Royal College of Nursing published last November showed 54 per cent of nurses who worked additional hours reported these were unpaid (Pictured: Nurses at a Covid-19 testing centre in Grangemouth) 

A Special Bonus Payment of £20 per shift can also be awarded to staff ‘covering an escort or bedwatch for a prisoner believed to be infected with Covid-19.’  

Other extra payments include £1,500 per month to Operational Managers on duty who ‘will be working additional hours on a regular basis in difficult circumstances.’

It comes as the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank last month suggested the Government should introduce a Covid-19 pay bonus of 10 per cent for all healthcare workers throughout the pandemic.

In its report, Care Fit for Carers, the IPPR called for action in five key areas to ensure the Government is ‘providing the health and care workforce what they need’ amid the crisis.

‘Covid-19 has shown, once and for all, how valuable and skilled workers in the health and care sector are,’ the report said.

‘No one in this sector should earn too little to live off. Most urgently, that means government should guarantee people their full salary if they fall ill, rather than the wholly inadequate statutory sick pay entitlement.

‘Government should further introduce a Covid-19 pay bonus of 10 per cent for all workers in health and care, for 2020/21 – recognising how this sector has gone above and beyond. 

‘This would have the added benefit of invigorating morale, as the crisis peaks. Thereafter, they should ensure no health and care professional is paid less than the real living wage, through rigorous minimum income standards. ‘ 

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