Subscriber OnlyIrelandQ&A

Public pay increases: When will they happen and how much will workers get?

Pay deal agreed between the Government and unions last month has been formally ratified by the union side

Unions representing about 385,000 civil and public sector workers have endorsed a deal that will provide pay increases of at least 10.25 per cent and up to 17.3 per cent over the next 2½ years.

The first round of increases will become due almost immediately but could, if previous deals are anything to go by, take a little time to work through the system. Most public servants should receive initial increases and some back money within 2-3 months.

The unions have said they want the first round of payments made by the end of May to prevent the process being complicated by the increase due in June.

By the end of the year, all affected employees should have received increases worth 4.25-7.5 per cent of their pay with public sector pensioners and other workers whose pay is pegged to public sector rates also set to receive increases.


What has happened?

The pay deal agreed between the Government and unions last month has been formally ratified by the union side, paving the way for the increases to be approved by the Department of Public Enterprise and Reform and then processed by the many different employers involved.

Who will be impacted?

About 385,000 workers employed by the State initially, although this number will be boosted by thousands of retired public servants whose pensions will increase and many other workers whose pay is linked to that of Civil Service grades.

The largest group of workers will be the 140,000 or so employed in the health sector followed by almost 125,000, mainly teachers, in education.

There are 46,000 civil servants, 32,000 local authority employees, about 15,000 gardaí and 8,000 members of the Defence Forces.

How much will they get?

A minimum of 10.25 per cent of gross pay over the 2½-year term of the agreement although it is weighted to guarantee lower paid workers receive bigger percentage increases.

The first phase, which will be backdated to January 1st of this year when implemented, provides for anyone earning up to €50,000 annually to receive an additional €1,125 a year, or about €90 a month before tax.

Those earning more than that will receive an increase of 2.25 per cent, with those at the top end of the pay scales set to receive increases of almost €500 before tax per month.

When will the money come through?

It is likely to vary from sector to sector with those working for the Civil Service or paid by Government departments set to receive their money first.

The last pay deal which concluded in late 2022 saw most civil servants receive the increases within a couple of months. In education, those whose payroll was processed directly by the Department of Education generally received their money within the same time frame, ahead of those employed by Education and Training Boards.

In health, there were far more significant delays with the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (INMO) general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha saying on Monday that some of her union’s members were left waiting up to eight months. She said the union wanted to see the money paid next month although that seems unlikely due to the number of different employers providing services on behalf of the HSE and Department of Health.

Will payments be backdated when they do come through?

Yes. The lowest paid workers, anyone earning up to €50,000, will be due about €90 for every month since the start of the year and everyone else will be due 2.25 per cent of gross pay. After that, everyone will be due an additional 1 per cent from the start of June and 1 per cent or €500, whichever is greater, from the start of October.

What about the rest of the deal?

Further increases are due in March, August and September of next year, the last of them based on a local bargaining clause intended to allow various groups of workers address claims more specific to their grades or areas.

All future increases are expected to be paid on time as the various employers have plenty of warning.

Are there other aspects to the deal?

The unions are setting quite a lot of store by the local bargaining element which provides for increases of 1 per cent next year and a further 2 per cent in the next national pay agreement to address local claims.

The Government, meanwhile, sees sections relating to skills, work practices and technology as providing for increased efficiencies.

In addition, there are provisions on the use of direct employees where possible rather than contract or agency workers, and commitments by both sides to work towards the resolution of issues affecting the likes of retained firefighters, ambulance crews and local authority workers.