New public service redundancy scheme approved

Wed, Oct 3, 2012, 01:00

THE GOVERNMENT has approved a new voluntary redundancy scheme for the public service.

Staff leaving under the scheme will receive three weeks’ pay per year of service up to a maximum of two years’ salary in addition to statutory entitlements of two weeks’ pay. This is in line with the terms for the voluntary redundancy scheme in the health service in 2010 and in keeping with an agreement reached with the trade unions earlier this year.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last night declined to indicate the numbers it envisaged leaving under the new scheme.

However, it said there would be no automatic right to redundancy and all applications would be subject to ongoing business needs.

It said an exercise was under way to identify areas of staff surplus. It also said all areas of the public service would be required to robustly implement the provisions for the redeployment of staff set out in the Croke Park deal.

The Irish Times reported in July that the Government wanted to accelerate its plan to downsize the public service.

The Government had set a target of reducing numbers in the public service – including the Civil Service, health service, local authorities and education – to 282,500 by 2015. In essence it now wants to move the deadline to 2014.

More than 9,000 staff left the public service prior to the introduction of pension changes at the beginning of March.

However, in that case, staff who wanted to leave effectively selected themselves. A more targeted approach will be adopted on this occasion.

At the end of March there were 291,927 staff in the public service, similar to the figure in 2005.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued letters to all departments in the summer asking them to bring forward policy options which would yield staffing reductions, including options to move to less labour-intensive service delivery.

Meanwhile, details of the numbers of staff in the Civil Service receiving particular allowances started to emerge last night in answer to a series of parliamentary questions tabled by Fine Gael TD Michael Creed.

The Department of Health said 21 staff were receiving a child allowance of €112 per year.

The department also said four staff had been assigned to Brussels or Geneva for the duration of the EU presidency next year on a rate of between €723.66 and €2,058 per fortnight.

It said nine personnel received footwear allowances of €65 a year. Three staff members receive a franking allowance of up to €1,789 a year.

Two staff members have a machine allowance of up to €1,701 while three have a key holder allowance of up €1,861 per year.

Separately last night Gerry Rooney, the general secretary of PDFORRA, the organisation for enlisted personnel in the Defence Forces said soldiers, sailors and aircrew were paid a limited number of allowances as part of a historic system, which was essentially designed to block the seeking and payment of overtime and premium payments.

He said it was “quite remarkable and totally unacceptable that these allowances could now be abolished or reviewed”.