Thursday, 18 April 2013

Questions (102)

Finian McGrath

Question:

102. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on DES Circular 0008/2013 (details supplied). [18199/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I think it would be useful if I set out the sequence of policy and budgetary measures in relation to new appointees to teaching and their pay entitlements. The first measure took effect on 1 September 2010. It requires that, in order to be eligible to receive the qualified rate of pay and allowances, a person on their first appointment to teaching must be registered with the Teaching Council and appropriately qualified for that position or sector. This was introduced for the purpose of ensuring quality and promoting professional standards in teaching and this goal has been strongly supported by the teacher unions.

The second measure was taken as part of Budget 2011. The last Government applied a reduction in the pay of new entrants to the public service. In the case of new teachers, a reduction of 10% was applied to pay and certain allowances and all new teachers were required to start on the first point of the scale rather than the third point as had previously been the case for most teachers. The new pay rates applied to all teachers who were new appointees appointed on or after 1 January 2011. Where a person gave any service - qualified or unqualified - in an analogous teaching position before 1 January 2011, he or she was not regarded as a new appointee to teaching and so was not affected by this measure.

The third measure formed part of Budget 2012 and related to qualification allowances. The Government announced that additional qualification allowances would not be payable to existing teachers and new teachers would be paid qualification allowances up to a maximum of the allowance applicable to an honours primary degree level.

Furthermore, in 2012 a public service-wide review of allowances was also carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and, pending its outcome, the payment of qualification allowances was suspended with effect from 1 February 2012. As a result of the review, the Government abolished qualification allowances with effect from that date and a new salary scale was created with a starting point equivalent to the fourth point of the previous scale. This reduced the impact of the ending of the qualification allowances and ensured a broad consistency across the public service.

The introduction of this new salary scale has been a complex task which has required a detailed implementation process. My Department, in consultation with VECs, is working through the operational aspects of these changes as they affect existing teachers and their pay.