A £500 "thank you" payment from the Scottish Government is being given to the majority of social care workers in Scotland next month, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has said.

The sum, which was initially announced at the SNP’s autumn conference by Nicola Sturgeon, is a one-off, pro-rata payment intended as a bonus to thank health and care staff for their hard work in the fight against Covid-19.

Who is eligible for the payment?

Eligible social care staff, expected to number more than 400,000, will have to have worked in the sector for at least a continuous four-week period between March 17 and November 30 last year.

It comes after most NHS workers who were eligible received their payment in February.

HeraldScotland:

When will the payment be made?

The Scottish Government has said it is working “at pace” with local authorities to ensure the payment is made to council-employed, social care staff from next month.

Meanwhile, a system will be in place for personal assistants, who are often directly employed by the person they support or their families, by the end of this month.

Jeane Freeman said: “We are hugely grateful for the hard work of social care workers across Scotland as they have risen to the challenge of responding to the pandemic.

READ MORE: Universal Credit uplift of £20 should be made permanent, MSPs say

“Delivering vital care to individuals under incredibly difficult circumstances has demonstrated the outstanding commitment, skill, dedication and compassion of our care-givers.

“This payment recognises the resilience of all of those who have been, and continue to, provide exceptional care on the front line of this crisis.

“My heartfelt thanks for all that you do every single day to support people across Scotland.”