Departmental Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (824)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

824. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if increments due to be paid to staff in her Department were paid on the due date. [1530/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Most civil servants were historically placed on a pay scale with annual increments up to a maximum level and after that, 2 Long Service Increments (LSI's) after 3 and 6 years respectively. The date on which annual increments fell due for civil servants were spread out over the course of the calendar year and were determined by the date of appointment and normally paid on the anniversary of appointment provided performance during the year was satisfactory. Currently, Departments are applying the provisions of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA), which came into effect from 1st July, 2013, to the payment of increments. One of the measures agreed under the HRA was that staff increments - after payment of their first increment after the introduction of the HRA – were to be deferred for periods of between three months and six months depending on salary level as follows:

- Less than €35,000 – one three month increment freeze - €35,000 to €65,000 – two three month increment freezes - Above €65,000 to max of PO (higher) scale – two six month increment freeze - Salaries starting over €100,000 – incremental progression suspended for three years.

In addition, as a balancing measure, the HRA provided, for staff earning between €35,000 and €65,000* and on the maximum of their salary scale before or during 2013, that the following would apply: 1. A reduction of 2 days annual leave for next three years; or 2. 2 days unpaid leave for next three years (subject to management approval); or 3. Cash deduction from salary of equivalent amount; or 4. Cash deduction of half of the most recent increment, whichever is the lesser.

If staff reach the maximum point after 2013, the above provisions will be implemented on a reducing basis.

The Deputy should note that instructions in relation to the payment of increments to staff in this Department are now issued by PeoplePoint (The HR & Pensions Shared Service under the aegis of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform), to Staff Salaries section of this Department. Prior to the instructions issuing, PeoplePoint liaise with the HR Unit of my Department particularly where they are proposing not to pay increments to staff members on the basis of an unsatisfactory/no performance ratings. In cases where staff do not have a current PMDS (Performance Management Development System) rating recorded on the Human Resource Management System the line manager of the staff member is contacted to ensure that they return the staff members PMDS rating via the PeoplePoint portal as soon as possible. In such cases and if the increment is to be paid a delay may take place in terms of when the actual payment is made.

*Officers who have 23 days annual leave or less are excluded from the provisions of this section of the Haddington Road Agreement

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (825, 826, 838, 839, 840, 841)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

825. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide a definitive date by which payroll difficulties will be resolved satisfactorily. [1531/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

826. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps being taken by her Department to ensure that difficulties with her Department’s payroll will be resolved satisfactorily. [1532/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

838. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason an apology for the delay in paying increments deferred under the Haddington Road agreement was not posted on her Department’s website. [1544/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

839. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons on her Department’s payroll affected by the delay in paying increments deferred under the Haddington Road agreement. [1545/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

840. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary teachers who began teaching this academic year and who remain to be placed on the correct payscale. [1546/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

841. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the measures taken by her Department’s payroll section to automate the application of other consequential Haddington Road agreement measures. [1547/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 825, 826 and 838 to 841, inclusive, together.

The details of the Haddington Road Agreement for teachers are extremely complex and are outlined in my Department Circulars 5/2014 for post primary teachers and 32/2013 for primary teachers. My Department operates the largest payroll in the State, with approximately 98,000 school employees and pensioners paid every fortnight. These payrolls have become increasingly complex over the past five years, due to the following:

- Introduction of three salary scales and two sets of allowances, by comparison to a single salary scale and set of allowances for all teachers, prior to 2010.

- Introduction of the Universal Social Charge (USC), Pension related Deduction (PRD) and the single pension scheme.

- Implementation of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act 2001 and new sick leave regulations for schools employees etc. In addition, the school employee payrolls have a high volume of substitute and casual appointments for payment, which is not a feature of other comparable payrolls for Civil Servants, Army, Garda Síochána etc. Work is ongoing at present to incorporate payments to home tutors through the payroll, which will broaden the range of payees coming within the remit of the school employee payrolls.

Accordingly, the development of the software to implement the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) in the context of the overall numbers being paid on the payroll (including substitute and casual appointees), the payroll complexities referenced above and the complexity of the agreement itself has been a very difficult and complex task. A further complication is the fact that the software programme in addition to dealing with the deferred increments has to calculate/re calculate the salary reduction provisions of the HRA for those reaching €65,000 taking account of the impact of increments and allowances.

The development of the programmes together with the comprehensive testing necessary to ensure the correct application of the terms of the agreement has taken longer than projected to implement. The majority of increments for teachers earning less than €65,000 including allowances became payable from the 1st December as teachers are generally appointed from 1 September. For the majority of those earning in excess of €65,000 increments will become payable from the 1st March. The target dates for the payment of the deferred increments and arrears to primary teachers and special need assistants is the 12th February and to post primary teachers on 19 February. It will only be possible to provide data in relation to the numbers impacted by the deferral of increments at the beginning of February. Arrangements will be made to have the new scales implemented for the 2011 appointees as soon as possible after the work in relation to the deferral of increments is completed.

I understand that teachers who commenced teaching in the current academic school year are being paid on the correct incremental scale.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (827, 828, 829, 830, 831)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

827. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons in her Department who have been tasked with ensuring that difficulties with her Department’s payroll in respect of the release of increments which were deferred under the Haddington Road agreement will be resolved satisfactorily. [1533/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

828. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the additional personnel that were assigned to her Department’s payroll section to ensure that difficulties with her Department’s payroll in respect of the release of increments which were deferred under the Haddington Road agreement will be resolved satisfactorily. [1534/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

829. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the staffing levels in her Department’s payroll section. [1535/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

830. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she is satisfied that the staffing level in her Department’s payroll section is sufficient to ensure the issuing of salary payments on a fortnightly basis to serving teachers, special needs assistants, secretaries and caretakers employed under the 1978-79 schemes and retired teachers and non-teaching staff. [1536/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

831. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the changes made to staffing levels in her Department’s payroll section since 2008. [1537/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 827 to 831, inclusive, together.

Staffing levels in front line operational areas such as Teachers' Payroll sections were maintained in recent years even though there was a planned reduction of Department's overall staffing levels required by the Employment Control Framework (ECF) agreed under the Croke Park and Haddington Road Agreements.

The staffing levels of the section are examined on a regular basis. This is necessary to take cognisance of the ongoing changing demands as new projects, work functions and schemes are introduced and the work associated with existing projects, work functions and schemes decrease or cease. The introduction of automated processes also impacts on staffing requirements of the section.

In that context the Haddington Road Agreement is only one of a significant number of projects and schemes that have been successfully project managed and introduced in recent years. These include Pension Related Deduction (PRD), Universal Social Charge (USC), Single European Payments Area (SEPA), Single Pension Scheme, implementation of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act, additional payrolls for part-time teachers and the revised sick leave scheme arrangements. Similar staffing implementation arrangements are being applied for the Haddington Road agreement as applied for the other projects.

The overall level of staffing in the section has increased by six full time equivalents in the period referred to by the Deputy. Additional temporary staffing resources are also deployed when required to cover long term absences such as maternity leave.

I am quite satisfied that the staffing level in my Department's payroll section is sufficient to ensure the issuing of salary payments on a fortnightly basis to serving teachers, special needs assistants, secretaries and caretakers employed under the 1978/79 schemes and retired teachers and non-teaching staff.

Teachers' Remuneration

Questions Nos. 838 to 841, inclusive, taken with Question No. 825.

Ceisteanna (832, 833, 834, 835, 836, 837)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

832. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide a definitive date for the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants. [1538/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

833. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if additional software is required to facilitate the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants. [1539/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

834. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any additional software required to facilitate the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants has been ordered. [1540/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

835. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a timeframe for any additional software required to facilitate the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants has been agreed with her Department’s payroll operators. [1541/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

836. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any additional software required to facilitate the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants has been delivered. [1542/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

837. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any additional software required to facilitate the payment of the revised scale for 2011 entrants has been tested. [1543/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 832 to 837, inclusive, together.

It is not envisaged that additional software is required to implement the revised scales for 2011 entrants. However, significant robust testing is necessitated prior to implementation, to ensure no adverse impact on other aspects of the school employee payrolls, due to the complexity of same, range of payees (including home tutors, substitute and casual employees), recent enhancements including the implementation of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act 2001 and new sick leave arrangements for school employees.

Arrangements will be made to have the new scales implemented for 2011 entrants as soon as possible after the work in relation to the deferral of increments is completed.

Questions Nos. 838 to 841, inclusive, taken with Question No. 825.