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Houses of the Oireachtas Commission

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (244)

Ivana Bacik

Question:

244. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the process by which changes to remuneration for those employed under the scheme for secretarial assistance is decided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61934/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Oireachtas Commission oversees the provision of services to the Houses and their Members by the Houses of the Oireachtas Service (the parliamentary administration) in accordance with the Commission Acts.

The primary functions of the Commission are to provide for the running of the Houses of the Oireachtas, to act as governing body of the Service, to consider and determine policy in relation to the Service and to oversee the implementation of that policy by the Secretary General.

The Scheme for Secretarial Assistance is the mechanism under which Secretarial Assistants and others are engaged. Under the Scheme, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission has the power to regulate the provision of “secretarial facilities” to Members and “qualifying parties”. Secretarial Assistants, Administrative Assistants, Parliamentary Assistants, Administrators and Chefs de Cabinet are employed by Members and by qualifying parties but are paid by the Commission.

The Commission also regulates the number of staff employed under the Scheme and has oversight of the operation of the Scheme. Under the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Act 2003, the Commission must obtain the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform of the day before reaching an agreement with any person in relation to rates of pay, conditions of employment or superannuation rights.

In practice, this means that the Commission advises on matters relating to pay, superannuation or other terms and conditions of employment, and submits proposals to myself for consideration and consent.

In that regard, I am aware that there is a process underway at the Workplace Relations Commission dealing with various issues, including alignment with the current public service pay agreement ‘Building Momentum’, between the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission and SIPTU.

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