The Exchequer public service pay bill for 2021 is estimated at €21.8billion with an estimate 367,000 public servants. The role of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is to manage this expenditure at a sustainable level, which allows for the recruitment and retention of appropriately skilled staff.
Important measures are in place to ensure that our expenditure and budgetary targets are being achieved on an ongoing basis. Managing the delivery of public services within budgetary allocations is a key responsibility of each Government Minister and Department. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is in regular contact with all other Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being managed within the overall fiscal parameters.
There is regular reporting to Government on expenditure levels and expenditure profiles are published for each month. The drawdown of funds from the Exchequer is monitored throughout the year and reported on against profile on a monthly basis in the Exchequer Statement.
All departments, when managing pay issues, must fully adhere to Government pay policy, which is managed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Circulars issued by this Department in relation to pay policy inform Departments of any changes in respect of pay and conditions and must be implemented in full.
Pay and conditions of public servants are set by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and union representatives. The current agreement, "Building Momentum": A New Public Service Agreement, 2021 - 2022, sets out the terms and conditions for public service pay over the next two years. This is an extension of the framework of public service agreements, including the Public Service Stability Agreement, 2018 - 2020, which expired on 31 December 2020.
The range of approaches set out above are key elements in ensuring that public service pay expenditure is managed in a sustainable way.