Written Answers. - Payment of Civil Servants.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

135 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the frequency of payment of wages/salaries and pensions of various grades of Civil Service workers; if he will give the option for all pensions to be paid weekly or at least brought into line with frequency of payment of wages/salaries to the relevant category of employee, namely that staff paid every two weeks should be paid their pension every two weeks rather than monthly. [16500/96]

With regard to the frequency of wages-salaries, Civil Service grades are paid weekly or fortnightly. As regards general service grades, the clerical grades, service officers, paperkeepers and cleaners are paid weekly. Staff officers and the executive and higher grades are paid fortnightly.

The State Directory (Part 3) gives details of the rates of pay for the full range of Civil Service. Where a rate is shown there in pounds and pence, it is a weekly rate, and those grades are paid weekly. The grades for whom an annual rate is shown are paid on a fortnightly basis, except for a very few isolated cases that are paid monthly.
With regard to the frequency of payment of pensions, until now, Civil Service pensions have been paid monthly. From next month, payment will be changed to a fortnightly basis. This has been agreed following representations made by the Retired Civil and Public Servants Association requesting that retired Civil Servants be given the option of having their pensions paid fortnightly.
It is not possible to introduce an optional arrangement on an individual basis under the present payroll system used for paying pensions. This system operates on a group basis and all pensioners in a particular group are tied to a common frequency of payment. There are seven groups within the system, covering 15,000 pensioners.
Weekly payment would involve a further doubling in volume of payment transactions. This would require extra staffing and other resources which are not available at present. The new fortnightly system will commence on 17 October 1996.