Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (123, 467)

Barry Cowen

Question:

123. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he held any discussions with Bord Gáis in relation to the system of bonus payments before establishing Irish Water as a subsidiary of the company; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5014/14]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

467. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if pay scales in Irish Water were set in line with pay scales in Bord Gáis Energy; and if salaries for staff in Irish Water were benchmarked against contracts in BGE that are based on pre-2009 salary levels. [5310/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 467 together.

The employment terms and conditions for Irish Water staff are a matter for the company and I understand that the terms and conditions are in line with the arrangements applying with Bord Gáis Éireann. Bord Gáis has in place a competitive market based pay model. The model offers market based pay ranges for all employees which includes a pay at risk element called Performance Related Award (PRA). A pay freeze will remain in place until 2016 as this is a key element of reducing overall payroll costs within the Group.  As such, Irish Water does not pay increments or any form of automatic pay award; the pay model applied allows for part of salaries to be placed at risk and this element of pay is only earned subject to performance.

In this model, where an employee does not meet expectations they will not be eligible for a performance award and underperformance will be dealt with under the Irish Water Disciplinary Procedure and will lead to sanctions up to and including dismissal. Performance pay will be based on a structured performance review and requires company performance, business unit performance and individual performance metrics to have been met.

I also understand that no bonuses have been paid to Irish Water staff, but I have asked the company to set out the basis and content of the model as applied to Irish Water contracts of employment, including the criteria against which high performance will be evaluated and the kinds of targets (at company and division or grade levels) against which such performance may be bench-marked. The amount of the performance pay will be a function of corporate performance, business unit performance and individual performance.