Government to introduce career break scheme in health service

Scheme part of plan to reduce number of staff on payroll

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly: he says the measures being worked on at present include an incentivised career break scheme and a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly: he says the measures being worked on at present include an incentivised career break scheme and a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 06:00


The Government is to introduce an incentivised career break scheme for staff in the health service, Minister for Health James Reilly has said.

The planned new scheme would be in addition to the Government’s proposal to put in place a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme to reduce the number of staff overall on the payroll.

Dr Reilly said the Government had decided that the numbers employed across the public service must be reduced to meet fiscal and budgetary targets.

Reduction in numbers
He said the health sector had to make its contribution to that reduction. “This policy requires that by the end of 2013, the health service achieves a workforce of 98,955 whole-time equivalents .”

The HSE’s performance report for January said that at that stage there were 101,407 whole-time equivalents in the health service.

The Minister told Michael McGrath of Fianna F áil in a reply to a parliamentary question that work was being undertaken at present by the Department of Health in conjunction with the HSE “to develop a series of targeted measures which will facilitate the achievement of the necessary net reductions in health service staff numbers”.

Service levels
He said this would be done while at the same time ensuring service levels and other objectives set out in the HSE’s national service plan – its agreement with the Government on how its €13 billion budget for the year would be spent – would be delivered.

Dr Reilly said the measures being worked on at present included an incentivised career break scheme and a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme.

“These schemes will be among the tools available to the HSE to assist in achieving the reductions required.”

He said the HSE would determine the locations, units and services to be targeted, while ensuring the effect on front-line service delivery was minimised.

“I expect that the schemes will be made available on a phased basis in the coming weeks ,” Dr Reilly added.

T he Government is expected to introduce targeted redundancy schemes in the health, agriculture and education sectors.

The Government’s overall plan envisages 2,000 redundancies in 2013 and a further 2,000 in 2014.

Terms of scheme
The terms of the redundancy scheme will be the same as those offered to HSE employees who took voluntary retirement in 2010 – namely three weeks’ pay per year of actual service plus statutory redundancy entitlement subject to an overall limit of two years’ pay or, if less, half of salary payable to minimum pension age.