Over 60 health managers claim legal rights to top-up pay

Additional payments ended for 43 executives

 Deputy director general of the HSE Laverne McGuinness told the PAC that they were seeking to have the payments continued on an individualised or “red circled” basis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Deputy director general of the HSE Laverne McGuinness told the PAC that they were seeking to have the payments continued on an individualised or “red circled” basis. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 01:01

More than 60 senior managers in voluntary hospitals and health agencies are claiming to have contractual entitlements to retain additional or top-up payments over and above the official rate for their positions.

Deputy director general of the HSE Laverne McGuinness told the Dáil Public Accounts Committee that they were seeking to have the payments continued on an individualised or “red circled” basis.

She said that in the case of 60 managers, documentation had been submitted to support these assertions and that discussions on this may be required with the Department of Health and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Ms McGuinness said that in a further 18 cases, supporting documentation had not yet been submitted to back up claims by managers that they had a legal and contractual entitlement to keep the additional payments.

She told the committee that top-up payments had ceased in respect of 43 senior executives in voluntary hospitals and health agencies.

Senior executives

A spokesman for the HSE said last night it could not provide the identities of the organisations which had made submissions to retain top-up payments for their senior executives. He said the HSE was still working through a process. In April, the HSE rejected about 100 applications from voluntary hospitals and health agencies to continue making top-up payments to senior staff in addition to official salaries.

The HSE subsequently directed that payment of such top-ups should cease by the beginning of July.

A number of these organisations then maintained they could be sued by senior staff if the payments were ended. Some also sought a HSE indemnity in the event of legal action.

The HSE rejected the provision of such indemnification.

The Irish Times reported last month that the HSE had written to some of the hospitals and agencies and set out a scenario in which some executives could retain the controversial additional payments.

Additional payments

In the letters, the HSE said hospitals and agencies would need to confirm additional payments would not be made to future staff.

HSE national director for human resources Barry O’Brien said in the letters that if organisations made such cases and submitted the required documents he would engage with the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure on their behalf. Mr O’Brien said cases would be examined on an individual basis.