Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (76)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

76. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the extent to which pay and conditions in the Defence Forces have been resolved to satisfaction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53443/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

Similar to other sectors in the public service, the pay of Permanent Defence Force personnel was reduced as one of the measures to assist in stabilising national finances during the financial crisis. Improvements within the economy have provided an opportunity for the unwinding of the FEMPI legislation which imposed pay cuts across the Public Service.  

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 increases due to date under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, have been paid to members of the Defence Forces, the most recent being a 1.75% increase on annualised salaries from the 1 September 2019. On 1 January 2020 annualised salaries up to €32,000 will increase by 0.5% and on 1 October 2020 annualised salaries will increase by 2%.  

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.  

The Report of the Public Service Pay Commission on Recruitment and Retention in the Defence Forces was accepted by Government on 4 July 2019.  The Report contains a broad range of recommendations which include:

- a 10% increase in Military Service Allowance,

- the restoration to pre-Haddington Road Agreement levels of certain specific Defence Forces allowances,

- the return of an incentive scheme to address pilot retention issues in the Air Corps.  

The increase in Military Service Allowance and the restoration of the rates of the other allowances, as recommended by the Public Service Pay Commission, have been paid and are in addition to measures relating to core pay which are in the current Public Service Stability Agreement.  

In accepting the report of the Public Service Pay Commission, the Government also approved a plan Strengthening Our Defence Forces – Phase 1, to implement the recommendations in the report. The Plan provides for further measures in the short, medium and longer term. 

As the actions being progressed have a range of timeframes, the full impact of the proposals will take time to determine. The capacity of the Defence Forces to undertake the tasks assigned by Government will continue to be carefully monitored having regard to the implementation of the full recommendations of the Pay Commission and other actions which are underway.