New teachers were overpaid by €1.2m

Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 01:00

EDUCATION:A NINE-MONTH delay in implementing reduced pay rates for new entrant teachers led to overpayments of some € 1.18 million by the Department of Education, the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report has found.

The lower rates for entrants was announced in the budget in December 2010 but it took the department seven months to issue a circular and nine months to apply the cuts, the report said.

An estimated 3,000 teachers were overpaid by some €350 each. In addition some 1,700 non-teaching staff were overpaid at an average of less than €100 each.

All new teachers appointed in the first six months of 2011 were overpaid until August 2011. A year after the department finally implemented the new pay rates, it had still not contacted those who were overpaid, nor had it put in place repayment arrangements to recuperate the funds, the report said.

The department aims to recover the overpayments, and deductions will be made from salaries and pensions until overpayments are recovered, the department told the comptroller.

It expects repayment arrangements for post-primary teachers to be in place this month and for primary teachers in November.

It said that as it contacts overpaid workers and clarifies issues, the level of estimated overpayments would reduce.

The 10 per cent pay cut for entry grades to the Civil Service was announced in December 2011. The comptroller’s report shows the reduction for newly appointed teachers can be 15 per cent (as they are now appointed on the first point of the grade scale).

The comptroller said it would have been “more efficient” if the department had regarded all staff added to payrolls in 2011 as new entrants. Among the reasons given for the delay by the department were consulting with the Department of Public Expenditure and the complex payroll.