I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 to 99, inclusive, together.
As the Deputy is aware, under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 (PSSA), it was agreed by all parties that there would be an examination of remaining salary scale issues in respect of post January 2011 recruits at entry grades. The discussions were informed by a Report, of March 2018 to the Houses of the Oireacthas in accordance with Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017. A copy of the report and relevant data can be accessed at: http://opac.oireachtas.ie/AWData/Library3/PERdoclaid160318_152642.pdf.
The Report shows that there has been strong recruitment since 2011 to the estimated 237 recruitment grades across the public service, with over 60,500 new entrants hired. This includes over 16,000 teachers, nearly 5,000 Special Needs Assistants and almost 10,000 nurses.
The report also quantified the cost of a two point adjustment as approximately €200m and the potential benefit to the individual as €3,301 on average. Full restoration in January 2020 would equate to an estimated €200m cost in that year. An adjustment of one increment in January 2020 and one increment in July 2020 would have the effect of spreading the cost over 2 years, due to carry over costs.
Since the publication of the Report, my Department, in support of the discussions between the parties, engaged in further work to assess and model the potential budgetary implications and impacts through phasing of the overall quantum.
Discussions on the issue with public service trade unions and representative associations, commenced in October 2017 and agreement was reached, in September 2018, between the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement on a measure which provides a credible pathway to addressing the concerns of those recruited to our public service since 2011 in a balanced and sustainable way. It provides a fair and affordable path to managing the cost associated with the issue.
The cost of this measure as agreed during the remaining term of the PSSA is €75m (€27m in 2019 and €48m in 2020). The full cost of the measure based on current data and public service numbers (2017) will cost €190m out to 2025. It is estimated some 58% (35,750) of ‘new entrants’ will benefit from this measure in year 1 rising to 78% (47,750) by year 2. Provision for the additional cost will be provided for in the upcoming budget 2019 and subsequent years.
In general, the agreement provides for two separate interventions which will take place at point 4 and point 8 of pay scales. The practical effect of this is that for ‘new entrants’ the relevant points on the scale will be bypassed thereby reducing the time spent (by bypassing two increment points) on the scale for progression to the maximum point.
This was brought to the Unions and Associations and their members to consider the measure in accordance with the procedures and processes provided for within those bodies and subsequently agreed upon.
The benefits under the measure became effective from 1 March 2019, and will be applied to each eligible new entrant as they reach the relevant scale points on their current increment date, and will be restricted to Parties adhering to the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.