Central Bank payments to keep key staff cost €450,000 this year

27 staff got retention payments in bid to stop them taking better-paid private sector jobs

The Central Bank of Ireland has said the retention payments policy was essential in retaining staff and limiting potential risks. File photograph: Getty Images

The Central Bank of Ireland has said the retention payments policy was essential in retaining staff and limiting potential risks. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Payments by the Central Bank to hold on to key staff have cost nearly €450,000 this year, it has emerged.

Twenty-seven staff, mostly actuaries working in the insurance division, have been given retention payments this year in a bid to ensure they do not quit for better-paid jobs in the private sector. An additional two members of staff will be paid by the end of the year.

Some of the payments were paid in instalments over the course of the year, while others received larger sums this year due to it being the final year of the retention scheme.

The key staff, who are already earning €100,000 annually, have received an average of 21 per cent of their salary in retention payments over the three years.

The figures show the €448,355 paid so far this year is the highest amount paid in a year since the bank introduced retention payments in 2011. The lowest payment was €38,009 in 2015.

In correspondence with the Dáil Public Accounts Committee received yesterday, the Central Bank confirmed 29 members of staff have received a total of €597,531 since 2014, with a further €33,484 due to be paid by the end of the year. The bank insists the payments are not bonuses and comply with public service pay policy.

However, the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming, said a number of questions are outstanding, including whether it complied with the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Fempi) legislation.

‘Quite incredible’

“I find it shocking and quite incredible that over half a million euro has been paid to 29 members of staff to keep them in their positions. There is no shortage of financial expertise in this country and I cannot understand why the bank would have to pay people this money. Most of the people involved earn over €100,000 anyway.

“The bank has said it has legal advice confirming its compliance but I think it is incumbent on Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe to assess whether he believes it is compliant or not.”

The bank said the policy was essential in retaining staff and limiting potential risks.

“The retention payments are specific and time-bound, are subject to normal deductions and required the employees to enter into a new contract of employment with the bank, with new terms and conditions of employment.

“Under the policy, any such payments must be designed to ensure continuity of service of staff.”