Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Ceisteanna (196)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

196. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the Public Service Pay Commission will complete its work on the examination of recruitment and retention challenges in the defence sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29653/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

 The Public Service Pay Commission was tasked under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 to conduct a comprehensive examination of underlying difficulties in recruitment and retention of staff in the public service, including the Defence Forces.

 The Report by the Pay Commission on Recruitment and Retention in the Defence Forces has been published and is available on the Public Service Pay Commission's website here: https://paycommission.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/Dept-of-Defence-PSPC-report-2019-WEB.pdf 

This report represents a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Permanent Defence Forces encompassing commissioned and enlisted personnel. 

The Report’s main conclusions are that the Defence Forces face challenges in meeting full strength and retaining certain skilled and experienced staff. The implementation of the Report’s recommendations, is provided for under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020.  

The main findings of the Report, which have been accepted by Government, include:

- An increase of 10% in the Military Service Allowance which is a unique payment to the Defence Forces and paid to the majority of ranks. The overall annual estimated cost of this measure is €4.8m p.a.

- Restoration of a 10% reduction in respect of duty allowances such as Security Duty Allowance and Patrol Duty Allowance that were introduced under the Haddington Road Agreement.  The 10% cuts to overseas allowances will also be restored.

- The overall estimated cost of the restoration of these measures is €3.3m p.a.

- Restoration of premium weekend payment rates which were approximately halved under the Haddington Road Agreement. The annual estimated cost of this measure is €1.4m p.a.

- Restoration of the Pilots Service Commitment Scheme for Flying Officers which is aimed at attracting pilots to continue in service on being able to stand down from the Air Corps. This Scheme was withdrawn in 2010.  The cost of this measure is estimated at €600k pa depending on take up.

A high level plan for the implementation of all of the recommendations in the Report has been approved and work will commence on the actions in the plan immediately. 

The above measures are in addition to the current Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) which is currently delivering pay benefits of between 7.4% and 6.2% (or up to 10% for new entrants hired after 2012) for our public servants, including Defence Force personnel at a cost of over €1.1bn, out to 2021.  The Pay Commission’s recommendations on the Defence Forces taken together with the pay measures provided for under the PSSA, represent a tangible package of pay improvements at this time for the members of our Defence Forces.