There is anecdotal evidence that restrictions on executive pay are making it difficult for the health service to recruit the right talent, the HSE has said.
The HSE's interim national director of human resources Ian Tegerdine told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that this issue would need to be considered as the organisation looked at leadership strategies in the future.
He said the HSE was not seeking to look at the issue at the moment.
Mr Tegerdine also said the HSE did not know the source of additional top- up payments being made by the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin, to three of its senior executives.
The HSE told the committee that the National Maternity Hospital was not compliant with Government pay policy.
Mr Tegerdine confirmed the hospital could face the imposition of financial penalties if it failed to comply with pay policy.
He said the National Maternity Hospital had refused to provide the HSE with details of the contracts of the three senior managers who were receiving additional payments above official rates.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher suggested funding for the top-up payments could be coming from patient payments or revenue from car parks.
Mr Tegerdine said the HSE did not know the source of the money.
He said the HSE would have to consider a delicate balance when determining the scale of any penalty between an amount which would require contractual action and that which would impact on patient care.