Northern Ireland has followed the lead of Wales and Scotland in recognising the contribution of its health and social care staff during the pandemic with a £500 payment.
Health Minister Robin Swann said the payment would be subject to approval from the Department of Finance, the BBC reported.
The minister said: “There are no words to properly convey what health workers have done for us, we will never be able to repay that debt.”
Northern Ireland’s Department of Health yesterday recorded 16 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking its toll to 1,779. A further 527 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.
The payment follows similar moves in Scotland and Wales and means England is now the only country in the UK to have not given its health and care staff a bonus in recognition of their contribution during the pandemic.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The social care workforce more than ever demonstrates unwavering compassion and dedication. We are proud of and immensely grateful to them.
“The vast majority of care workers are employed by private sector providers who ultimately set their pay and remuneration, independent of central government. Local authorities work with care providers to determine a fair rate of pay based on local market conditions.
“This month, the Government announced an additional £120 million to support the social care workforce to provide additional care staff where shortages arise, support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care, and help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs.”