Unpaid leave deal entails pay cut of 4.6%


ANALYSIS:STAFF IN the public service would face having 4.6 per cent of their income deducted next year under the proposed unpaid leave arrangement but, in some cases, it could be up to six years before the full complement of days off could be taken.

General principles on how such a scheme could operate across the public service, in the event of it being agreed by the Government and the unions as part of an overall deal, were set out in a confidential Department of Finance document on Wednesday night.

The document did not deal specifically with how such a scheme would work in particular areas such as health, education or the Civil Service. This document said the 4.6 per cent deduction would apply to all income.

However, it also maintained the pensions and lump sums of staff who retired in 2010 and 2011 would not be affected by the 4.6 per cent deduction.

In the document, the department also linked the taking of the leave to the implementation of the overall transformation programme in various parts of the public service.

The department said that in specific sectors, the days could be taken over a period of up to six years, once revised rosters and other arrangements were in place as required in the sectoral transformation agendas.

“Flexibility will be necessary with regard to rosters and redeployment, as required under transformation agendas and, where revised arrangements are necessary under sectoral transformation agendas, the taking of leave will be dependent on those revised arrangements being agreed,” it states.

The document said that to avoid an impact on services next year and beyond, management could designate existing days where there was no or reduced level of services as unpaid leave.

The document specifically stated that there could be no diminution of service as a result of the introduction of any unpaid leave arrangement. It also said that no additional costs such as overtime or staff replacement expenses could arise.

The document stated that management would determine when and to what extent the leave was taken and that it could be required that some or all leave be taken on certain days or in one or more blocks of days.

The document said that unpaid leave was not normally reckonable for pension purposes. However, it said that as an exceptional measure, if it was to be reckonable for pension purposes, staff would have to pay an additional contribution.