Worker at HSE-funded agency’s €16,700 for time in lieu

Pressing matters identified in KARE organisation which helps the intellectually disabled

In a sample of staff P60 forms a payment of €16,691 was uncovered in 2015 to one employee for time off in lieu.

In a sample of staff P60 forms a payment of €16,691 was uncovered in 2015 to one employee for time off in lieu.

 

An employee at a publicly-funded voluntary organisation received nearly €16,700 in payment for time off in lieu which could not be taken, a Health Service Executive-commissioned report has found.

Three significant issues were identified in a review of the KARE organisation which provides services for people with intellectual disabilities, said consultants Deloitte. They related to non-compliance with procurement guidelines; instances of non-compliance with official Department of Health salary scales and Government pay policy as well as the absence of a formalised internal audit function.

KARE operates in Kildare, east Offaly, northeast Carlow and west Wicklow. It is known,technically, as a section 38 organisation and staff in such entities are considered public service personnel.

Deloitte said on foot of a sample of staff P60 forms, it identified a payment of €16,691 in 2015 to one employee in respect of time off in lieu.

“Management advised that this was in relation to the payment of 430 hours’ time off in lieu at the employee’s hourly rate which was approved by the CEO. The employee had accumulated a significant amount of time off in lieu hours, however was unable to take the time off, as was the practice in KARE.

“Management advised that an agreement was reached to pay out a third of the hours, write off a third of the hours and allow the employee to use the remaining third.”

The report noted the employee concerned was on the HSE’s grade VIII salary scale. It argued that the HSE’s national financial regulations and the Haddington Road public service agreement outlined overtime rates to be paid up to grade VII level at a maximum. It did not include provision for payment in respect of time in lieu for staff at grade VIII and above.

“We understand that there is a general expectation that senior management grades at grade VIII and above who work beyond their contracted hours would not request compensation for the additional time worked and this would be the standard practice,” stated the report.

The analysis also noted the employee’s contract indicated that “flexibility in working hours will be required from time to time to facilitate the needs of the service and does not specify that the employee is entitled to time in lieu”.

The report recommended KARE discontinue the practice whereby it allowed payment for time in lieu to grade VIII and above. The organisation’s responded that it understood time off in lieu was a practice within the HSE.

“There is no circular or documentation to our knowledge that stipulates time in lieu does not apply to grade VIII or above. It has always been the practice in KARE not to pay overtime but to allow all staff to take time back for additional hours worked.”

The HSE appointed Deloitte in 2016 to carry out reviews of voluntary hospitals and agencies which it funded to determine if they were complying with pay policy and to assess governance arrangements.