I propose to take Questions Nos. 630, 634 and 637 together.
On 1 May last my Department issued a Circular letter to the HSE, authorising the introduction of an incentivised career break scheme in the HSE and in organisations funded by the HSE under Section 38 of the Health Act 2004. The scheme was intended as a tool to assist managers to achieve the numbers reduction required under the 2013 Employment Control Framework, as well as the corresponding reduction in expenditure, while delivering the agreed level of service.
Under the terms of the scheme, staff who had completed their probationary period, were offered a 3 year career break with an incentive payment of one third of gross basic pay to a maximum of €12,000; this amount is subject to tax and other statutory deductions. Any vacancy which arises under the scheme will not as a general rule be filled; a vacancy may only be filled by redeployment.
A total of 2,732 applications were received by the closing date 31 May, of which 2,521 were deemed to be valid applications. These applications have been considered and to date 366 have been approved while 82 applications have yet to be determined.