Thursday, 6 December 2018

Questions (99)

Denise Mitchell


99. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the guidance issued to Departments on whether sick leave has an impact on the progression of pay increments for public sector workers; if this guidance has changed in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51314/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has responsibility for the arrangements relating to the payment of increments in the civil service.

These arrangements are set out in Circular 9/1987:- Increments. Paragraph 4 of Circular 9/1987 states that ‘An increment is an increase in pay for which provision is made in a pay scale. As a general rule increments are granted provided an officer’s service is satisfactory’. Paragraph 8 goes on to state that ‘Individual Departments bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that increments are granted only to officers whose attendance, performance and commitment throughout the year have been completely satisfactory’. There has been no change in this circular following the introduction of the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme in 2014.

While the Increments circular itself has not changed, my Department has developed guidance aimed at supporting civil service employers in assessing the impact of sick absence on increments and other employment benefits. This guidance highlights the importance of proactively managing high levels or patterns of absence and reiterates the provisions of the Increments circular i.e. that an individual’s attendance can be taken into account in awarding an increment. The guidance is intended to assist employers in decision making and does not prescribe that an individual will automatically be ineligible for employment benefits and/or career opportunities, such as increments, because they have reached a particular level of absence.