Government again targets allowances in public service

Wed, Oct 10, 2012, 01:00

The Government is to seek to eliminate 88 allowances paid to serving staff across the public service as a priority.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed this afternoon that it wants management in different parts of the public service to engage with trade unions in a bid to eliminate allowances that it has already targeted for abolition for new entrants.

Last month there was widespread controversy over the outcome of a review of allowances announced by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, that saw only one allowance for serving personnel being abolished.

Details of the new development emerged at a meeting between health service management and trade unions this morning.

The unions were given a copy of a letter sent by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to the Department of Health at the end of September.

The letter states: “Your Department must engage immediately with staff interests with a view to securing their early agreement to the elimination of those allowances payable within your Department to current beneficiaries, where no business case exists to pay such allowances to new beneficiaries.”

Among the allowances the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform suggested could be abolished as a priority for serving health personnel is a travel allowance for non-nursing personnel.

The letter also states that individual departments could also identify other allowances for priority elimination “among any ‘legacy’ allowances still in payment to public servants”.

The Department of Public Expenditure confirmed this afternoon that similar letters have been sent to all government departments.

Departments were asked to set out the allowances they wanted to prioritise for elimination by last Tuesday.

Last month the Government decided to abolish 88 different allowances for new entrants to the public service.

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