Social care staff are to receive a pay rise to equal the real living wage in Scotland.
The announcement was made at the daily coronavirus briefing, chaired by Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman.
It is equal to an immediate 3.3% pay increase, backdated from April 1, to at least £9.30 an hour.
Their work is always hugely valued, and never more so than now.Jeane Freeman
Ms Freeman said in s statement: “Scotland’s dedicated social care workers are on the front line of our national pandemic response.
“Their work is always hugely valued, and never more so than now.
“The measures we are announcing in partnership with Cosla today will ensure all people providing adult social care receive the real living wage for every hour worked with immediate effect, rather than having to wait until later in the year.”
The pay increase applies for all hours worked, including sleep-overs and hours worked by personal assistants.
The Scottish Government is also to provide funding to third sector and independent providers specifically to ensure staff receive sick pay if they are off work ill or because they are self-isolating.
Ms Freeman added: “As well as providing an uplift in pay for all social care workers, this package ensures social care providers have both flexibility to increase wages across their organisations and the necessary funding for sick pay if their employees are off ill or are self-isolating.”
Andy Kerr, chairman of the Fair Work in Social Care Group, said: “This announcement will provide social care providers the confidence, in these very challenging times, to ensure a very welcome and deserved pay uplift for social care staff working in Scotland.
“As well as recognising the importance of their work, today’s announcement also gives reassurance that financial support is available for those who are sick or self-isolating during this unprecedented situation.
“It also reflects the work we are doing as part of the overall reform of adult social care to build a framework for fair work across the sector.”
The move has also been welcomed by trade unions.
Mike Kirby, Unison Scotland secretary, said: The challenge is now to work with providers to ensure speedy implementation.
“This deal begins to recognise the real value in society of this workforce.
“When this crisis is over, there must be no slipping back.”
GMB Scotland secretary Gary Smith added: “We’ve been pressing the Government hard on the issue of money for carers – and while this is a welcome short-term measure for staff employed by councils, we need to go much, much further.
“We will also need to urgently address how we are going to value the many thousands of residential carers, nurses and domestics currently employed by private firms.”