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Public service pay deal: What does it mean for you? And when will the pay increases kick in?

For those earning €50,000-plus, pay rises totalling 10.25 per cent will be introduced over 30 months while those earning less will get higher pay rises

A new pay deal for 385,000 civil and public sector workers has been agreed between union and Government representatives. The total cost of the agreement amounts to €3.6 billion spread over four Budget years – 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027. But how much will it mean for individual workers and when will the pay increases kick in?

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe says the new deal is worth up to 17.3 per cent over 2½ years for some workers but the reality is that level of percentage increase will only apply for the least well paid in the civil and public service, those earning significant short of €30,000.

For those earning around €50,000 or more, the headline increase of 10.25 per cent will apply in full. For those earning below around €50,000, the percentage increase will be between 10.25 per cent and 17.3 per cent depending on salary scale.

Trade union negotiators point out that the 10.25 per cent increase over 30 months is 1.75 per cent more than the Government offered two weeks ago and, importantly, they contend, more of the money comes earlier in the deal than had been proposed by the State previously.


What is the pay element of the deal?

Staff will receive seven separate increases between the time the deal is ratified and June 1st 2026. These will either be a percentage increase in existing salary or a set amount, whichever is the larger.

The percentage increase in this element of the deal totals 9.25 per cent.

In addition unions can claim 3 per cent to address local issues of concern to particular groups of public sector workers.

This might be used to address existing claims by local authority workers, for instance, or other issues but only 1 per cent of that 3 per cent will actually become available over the course of this deal – on September 1st of next year, to be precise. The other 2 per cent has simply been committed for the same purpose but will not actually become payable until the next public sector pay agreement takes effect with the dates yet to be agreed.

The unions had been seeking more than 1 per cent and what had been agreed, including the deferral into the next agreement of that 2 per cent, is far closer to what the Government had been offering.

In the meantime, the core increases provided for right now are:


January 1st (backdated): 2.25% rise in basic pay or €1,125, whichever is greater

June 1st: 1% increase to basic pay

October 1st: 1% increase in basic pay or €500, whichever is greater


March 1st: 2% increase in basic pay, or €1,000, whichever is greater

August 1st: 1% increase in basic pay


February 1st: 1% increase in basic pay or €500, whichever is greater

June 1st: 1% increase in basic pay

And what else is there to it?

Unions committed to engage with Government on issues relating to the likes of technology, artifical intelligence, work practices and apprenticeships to drive an agenda of reform and obtain productivity improvements.

A number of existing claims by unions also look set to be addressed as part of the process, with the employer side giving undertakings to act on Labour Court cases recommendations such as the one involving a proposed regrading of clinical nurse managers and clinical midwife managers.

Medical laboratory scientists are another group to get such a commitment while an undertaking has been given to establish a process capable of properly addressing the pay and oudated conditions of retained firefighters.

An environmental allowance paid to prison officers in Portlaoise will be extended to teaching staff while a review of roles and responsibilities in the ambulance service is to be concluded.

So what happens now?

At their meeting on Friday morning, the 19 unions of the Public Services Committee agreed that they would take these pay and the other elements of the deal back to their members and ballot on them before meeting again to make a final decision on whether to accept or reject the terms.

After that it is hard to imagine the deal being rejected by a simple majority of all those voting across the different unions.

The intention is that the outcome of the individual ballots and overall totals should be decided when the unions meet again on March 25th.