State spending millions posting out payslips to teachers every two weeks

Payslips for employees and retirees account for 81 per cent of department’s postal costs

The Department of Education  spent more than €2.2 million on postage last year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Department of Education spent more than €2.2 million on postage last year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

The Department of Education spent nearly €1.8 million posting paper payslips to employees and retirees last year, figures show.

According to spending figures released to The Irish Times, the total cost of postage paid by the department for last year was more than €2.2 million, of which about 81 per cent went towards sending payslips to teachers, retired teachers and non-teaching staff.

Primary and post-primary teachers are paid every two weeks and receive a paper payslip in the post for each payment. During the year, more than a million payslips were generated for primary school teachers and about half that number for post-primary teachers.

Postage for primary school teachers alone was expected to cost €683,177 based on the more than a million payslips generated. The post-primary projection was €356,628 based on 558,273 payslips.

Posting 768,504 payslips to retired teachers was expected to cost €494,377 last year. For non-teaching staff, the expected cost was €264,584.57 for 411,191 payslips.

Between January 1st and April 12th last year, the department spent 57c on posting each payslip, with the cost per item rising to 67c for the period between April 13th and December 31st. The cost jumped again on April 4th last to 74c per item.

The total number of payslips generated during the year was 2,800,583 and the actual cost of posting them was €1,798,510.26. This total was €257.25 lower than the projection, owing to the fact that some payslips are generated but, for various reasons, not sent in the post.

A spokesman for the department told The Irish Times that the provision of a “self-service” payslip facility is part of a payroll modernisation project currently being undertaken.

“There are 120,000 staff paid on a fortnightly basis on the payrolls operated by the department,” he said. “The primary objective is to ensure that the staff are paid on time and correctly.”

The spokesman said there was communication and co-operation between the department and the National Shared Services Office (NSSO), which was set up in 2014 to centralise the public services payroll.

However, “the vast majority of these 120,000 staff are not part of the NSSO payroll”.