Third party to review Central Bank ‘retention pay’

Central Bank and Unite union agree to review of controversial payments

 Central Bank: it has paid €234,176 in retention payments since 2011. About 29 employees  still get the payments. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Central Bank: it has paid €234,176 in retention payments since 2011. About 29 employees still get the payments. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

The Central Bank of Ireland and trade union Unite have agreed to appoint a third party to review the controversial issue of retention payments by the financial regulator to certain staff in recent years.

It emerged last year the Central Bank had paid €234,176 in retention payments since 2011.

Some 29 employees are still in receipt of the payments, which equate on average to 21 per cent of their salaries.

The Central Bank did not seek Government approval for the payments and insisted it complies with financial emergency measures in the public interest (Fempi) legislation on public sector pay.

The payments sparked anger among Unite members, with the union claiming that they breached the Government’s ban on bonuses.

Internal procedures

Separately, the Central Bank issued details of its salary scales for the first time yesterday, showing that 130 staff, or one- in-12 employees, were paid more than €100,000 a year.

The bank’s total salary bill, excluding pensions, rose by 5.7 per cent last year to €105 million, as the head count increased to 1,577 from 1,398. The average salary was €60,648, down from €61,202 in 2014.

Seven lower-level grades in the bank received salary increases in January in line with the terms of the Lansdowne Road agreement involving the reversal of pay cuts introduced under Fempi emergency legislation.

Officers on the first point of the pay scale received a 2.5 per cent rise to €24,250. Those on the second, third, fourth and fifth points each received increases of 1 per cent, with salaries from €26,020 to €31,241.

Increases

The Central Bank’s data shows that 79 staff, or 5.2 per cent of the total of full-time equivalents, were paid between €100,000and €124,999.

Thirty-six employees, or 2.4 per cent of staff, received salaries between €125,000 and €149,999. Another 15 were paid salaries above €150,000.

At the end of December, the Governor Philip Lane was paid €254,048 a year, while the deputy governor and head of financial regulation, Cyril Roux, received €310,000. These figures were unchanged on a year earlier.

The Central Bank also published details of its taxi travel costs for 2015, showing that it spent €172,422 on 11,344 journeys taken on its account. This was up 19 per cent or €27,541 on the previous year.