HSE to scrap scheme allowing shorter week at lower pay

New voluntary redundancies to be introduced in health service from January

New HSE voluntary redundancy scheme to be introduced. Photographe: Bloomberg.

New HSE voluntary redundancy scheme to be introduced. Photographe: Bloomberg.

Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 13:37

The HSE is to withdraw arrangements which allow staff to continue to the shorter working week that applied prior to the introduction of the Haddington Road agreement in return for a reduction in salary.

The HSE is also to put in place a new targeted voluntary redundancy scheme in the health service from 1 January 2014.

In a memo to senior HSE management today (WED) the health authority’s national director of human resources Barry O’Brien said that “increased action is now required to accelerate the delivery of further reductions in the current overtime and agency costs”.

He said that the agreement provided for increases in the standard working hours of staff across the public service and that these could be aggregated on a daily, weekly or annual basis to best meet service needs.

Mr O’Brien said that he had previously acknowledged that as an exceptional measure applying for a period of time, managers could facilitate a small number of personnel to retain their existing (pre Haddington Road) working hours .

“This concession is no longer viable and with effect from 1st January 2014 all staff should be working the additional hours required under the agreement. This should facilitate a further reduction in agency and overtime costs.”

He said the effective usage of the additional working hours provided for in the agreement was central to the generation of the level of savings to which all parties had given a commitment.

The HSE has come under strong pressure from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform over recent weeks since it emerged that the health service would not meet the target of realising savings of €150 million under the Haddington Road deal this year.

HSE director general Tony O’Brien said recently it would only generate savings of €110 million at best.

In his memo today Mr O’Brien also said: “As an additional enabler to facility cost reduction it has been decided that a review of all applications for the Incentivised Career Break Scheme (ICBS), made available earlier this year, should now be undertaken. The additional hours available should deliver capacity to facilitate applicants who wish to avail of the ICBS.”

“As a further measure, a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme will be made available from the 1st January 2014 which will allow services re-structure and reconfigure while at the same time deliver essential cost savings and further reduce headcount in line with our Employment Control Framework. Further information on the process of the ICBS review and the targeted Voluntary Redundancy will be made available under separate cover.”