Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (21)

Brendan Smith


21. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence when pay and conditions for members of the Permanent Defence Force will be improved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36435/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The recovery in the economy has provided the fiscal resources to provide for a fair and sustainable recovery in public service pay scales.

Pay is being restored to members of the Defence Forces and other public servants in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay.

The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, provides for increases in pay ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay. By the end of the current Public Service Pay agreement the payscales of all public servants (including members of the Defence Forces), earning under €70,000 per annum, will be restored to pre FEMPI levels. The restoration of the 5% reduction to allowances cut under FEMPI is also scheduled in the agreement.

New entrants to the public service who joined the Defence Forces since 2011, may also benefit from the measures, in relation to interventions at points 4 and 8 of the pay scales. This measure is effective from 1 March 2019.

In accordance with the provisions of Public Services Stability Agreement 2018-2020, the Government tasked the Public Service Pay Commission, with conducting a more comprehensive examination, of the specific recruitment and retention challenges in the Defence Sector. The Commission’s Report was approved by Government on 4 July 2019.

The report recommends a range of measures to improve recruitment and retention in the Permanent Defence Force. This includes a 10% increase in Military Service Allowance, the restoration of the rates of certain allowances specific to the Defence Forces cut in accordance with the Haddington Road Agreement and the re-introduction of a service commitment scheme for Air Corp pilots.

Implementation of theses recommendations can commence when the Permanent Defence Force representative associations (PDFORRA and RACO), have considered and accepted the report.

The Report also contains a range of recommendations aimed at improving workforce planning, recruitment and conditions of service.

The Government agreed an extensive implementation plan for the report and work on this has commenced.