12. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to review and address recruitment and retention issues in various areas of the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47262/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff)

Deputy Dara Calleary: The issue of recruitment and retention within the public service is causing considerable pressure, particularly in the health service but also in the area of education. An issue has arisen, for example, in the context of the availability of substitute teachers. I have also seen figures which indicate that 60 hospital beds were closed last month because of a shortage of staff. I understand that there are procedures within the Public Service Pay Commission to address this ...

15. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps that have been taken or need to be taken to change the mandatory retirement age in the public sector; the cost benefit analysis of increasing the mandatory retirement age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46865/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): An Interdepartmental Working Group, chaired by my Department was established in 2016 to examine the issues arising from prevailing retirement ages for workers in both the public and private sectors. This examination was in the context of the current age of entitlement to the State Pension and the scheduled increases to the State Pension age in 2021 and 2028. 
The Group, whose Report was agreed by Government in August 2016, con...

21. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of public and civil servants earning the minimum wage and the living wage; his plans to ensure that all public and civil servants earn the living wage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47235/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy is aware my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection is responsible for setting the National Minimum Wage on recommendation from the Low Pay Commission. 
The current minimum wage is set at €9.25 and the third report of the Low Pay Commission recommended that this be increased by 30 cent per hour.
The Government welcomed that recommendation as a modest increase but one that is ahead of th...

76. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the full extent to date of recruitment throughout the public sector in the context of economic recovery; the expectation in respect of future recruitments throughout the sector by the end of 2017 and thereafter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47558/17 asked on 09 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, in my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have overarching responsibility for workforce planning in and recruitment to the Civil Service.
In Budget 2015, it was announced that there will be a targeted programme of recruitment into the Civil Service to address service needs and a shortfall in key skills commencing in late 2014 and continuing. The Deputy will be aware that a number ...

276. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the shared model for Civil Service training and development includes suicide prevention training for Civil Service staff; if so, if such training is mandatory, and if not, if he will make such training mandatory with the provision of a refresher online course available to staff to be completed every three years thereafter. (Question 45652/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Training)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): OneLearning, the new Learning and Development Centre for the Civil Service, is responsible for providing Civil Service Core Training.  As a newly established organisation OneLearning is in the process of developing appropriate training modules for all Civil Servants and making these available on an incremental basis. 
 While specific suicide prevention training for civil service staff is not currently provided, relevant trainin...

289. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the detail of the rules that came into effect regarding the change in the number of months a public servant can take by way of sick leave which was reduced from six months’ full pay to three months and full pay; when the cumulative clock begins counting if sick leave taken prior to the commencement of the new rules in which the full three months or close to the three months has already been taken by a public servant; and the way in which this will impact on future sick leave (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46215/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As you are aware, the new Sick Leave Scheme was introduced following the enactment of the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) (Amendment) Act 2013 [http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2013/act/47/enacted/en/html] by the Oireachtas to reduce the very high and unsustainable cost of sick leave in the public service.
Under the scheme, sick leave is paid at full pay for three months (i.e. 92 days) and at half pay...

290. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the leave arrangements in circumstances in which a person is out due to serious sick leave in the public service (details supplied); the way these matters are dealt with at an operational level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46217/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Public Sector Staff Sick Leave)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): While I cannot comment on individual cases or circumstances, the following sets out the position in relation to the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme and provisions for serious illness. The Critical Illness Protocol (CIP) is the basis for access to extended sick leave which provides substantial additional protection to employees experiencing critical illnesses or serious injury.
Where an employee is given access to the critical...

73. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will restore pay equality for young persons in the public sector in budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40457/17 asked on 25 Oct 2017 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. I have used this to negotiate substantial improvements in pay for new teachers. The agreement reached in September 2016 will see pay rises of between 15-22% (between €4600 and €6700) for new entrant teachers.  The agreements also provide for earlier permanency for younger teachers, new promotion opportunities and new flexibilities in w...

268. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the positions requested and sanctioned by her Department over the past three years in relation to a library (details supplied). (Question 42380/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Public Sector Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): From 1 January 2014 to 11 June 2015, the following posts were requested and approved for the National Cultural Institution referred to by the Deputy:
Senior Security Attendant, Attendant, Conservator, Human Resources Manager, Curator, Digitisation Assistant and a Head of Development. 
These posts required and received sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. 
Delegated sanction arrangements for bod...

125. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the mileage rate that is payable for 100% electric vehicles; if this rate is consistent with climate action goals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 41777/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Public Sector Staff Expenses)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The motor mileage rates reimburse an officer only for the costs incurred in using their own cars for official business and are not deemed to be a source of emolument or profit. The rates are agreed with Staff Side Representatives and are determined by a methodology which takes account of the various costs associated with officers using their own cars on official business. 
The factors taken into account in calculating the rate...

49. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has satisfied himself that there is sufficient transparency, accountability and oversight in the area of top level appointments in the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40481/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy will be aware, open publicly advertised competition is a key principle of senior level appointments to posts across the public service reflecting the Government’s commitment to ensure that such posts, which are central to the effective performance of our system of public administration, are filled by high-calibre candidates.  
In my area of direct responsibility, the civil service, recruitment in relation to senio...

50. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to increase staffing levels and to ensure adequate funding for same in view of the clear connection between staff shortages and significant crises across the public sector in areas such as housing, health and, in particular, mental health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40480/17 asked on 26 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The provision for Public Service staffing numbers in 2017 is just under 315,000 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs). This represents an increase of over 8,000 or 2.7% on the 2016 outturn and an increase of over 25,000 or nearly 10% on 2014.
The corresponding provision for the Exchequer pay bill in 2017 is €16.47 billion. This is an increase of approximately €850 million on the 2016 outturn and approximately €2 billion on the 2014 pa...

204. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason an organisation (details supplied) is not on the list of organisations with which his Department allows a transfer of service despite a person giving financial recognition and increments for years of service. (Question 39459/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Redeployment)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 208 together.
The Public Sector Transfer Network allows employees to transfer service from one member organisation to another. The legislative provision for this is Section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963, which allows for the transfer of pensionable service in the case of staff transfers between the Civil Service and “approved organisations”, and between one “approved org...

208. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the years of service with an organisation can be recognised as years of service for pension purposes for a person (details supplied); and the reason the organisation is not a member of the public sector transfer network. (Question 39460/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Redeployment)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 208 together.
The Public Sector Transfer Network allows employees to transfer service from one member organisation to another. The legislative provision for this is Section 4 of the Superannuation and Pensions Act 1963, which allows for the transfer of pensionable service in the case of staff transfers between the Civil Service and “approved organisations”, and between one “approved org...

252. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of public servants now employed; the number of vacancies in the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37811/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As of the end of the second quarter of 2017, based on the information provided to my Department overall public service employment was 311,215 in Full-Time Equivalence terms. As the Deputy may be aware, in Budget 2015, the Moratorium on Recruitment and Promotion was formally ended and the Employment Control Framework was replaced by a new Delegated Sanction Arrangement in most Government Departments and Offices. Under the new ...

262. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the annual percentage of public service staff who were women under the remit of his Department in each of the years 2010 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form. (Question 37061/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.
In response to the Deputy’s questions, the following table outlines the annual percentage of staff that were women in my Department and the bodies under its aegis, since the Department was established in 2011.  It should be noted that a number of the bodies were only established in the period since 2011.
Annual percentage of staff that were women 2011-2017
 ...

263. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the annual percentage of non-commercial State sponsored bodies’ staff under the remit of his Department who were women in each of the years 2010 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form. (Question 37062/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Data)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 263 together.
In response to the Deputy’s questions, the following table outlines the annual percentage of staff that were women in my Department and the bodies under its aegis, since the Department was established in 2011.  It should be noted that a number of the bodies were only established in the period since 2011.
Annual percentage of staff that were women 2011-2017
 ...

652. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual percentage of non-commercial State sponsored bodies’ staff under the remit of his Department who were women in each of the years 2010 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form. (Question 38366/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 652 and 653 together.
The following table outlines the percentage of women who are public servants in agencies and bodies under the remit of my Department which are non-commercial State sponsored bodies.
 Year Legal Aid Board National Disability Authority An Garda Siochana 2010 73% 66% 24% 2011 74% 68% 24% 2012 74% 70% 25% 2013 76% 69% 25% 2014 77% 69% 26% 2015 * Nil 70 % 26% 2...

653. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the annual percentage of public service staff under the remit of his Department who were women in each of the years 2010 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form. (Question 38389/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Public Sector Staff Data)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 652 and 653 together.
The following table outlines the percentage of women who are public servants in agencies and bodies under the remit of my Department which are non-commercial State sponsored bodies.
 Year Legal Aid Board National Disability Authority An Garda Siochana 2010 73% 66% 24% 2011 74% 68% 24% 2012 74% 70% 25% 2013 76% 69% 25% 2014 77% 69% 26% 2015 * Nil 70 % 26% 2...

224. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if a person (details supplied) who retired from An Garda Síochána in 2004 and who subsequently took up employment with the Courts Service 11 days later is not deemed a new entrant and therefore must retire at the age of 65 years of age; the reason for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35058/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Sector Staff Retirements)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 (‘the 2004 Act’) provides in general that an individual who takes up an appointment in a public service body on or after 1 April 2004 is classed as a ‘new entrant’.
However, the legislation makes various exceptions for those public servants who, in the 26 weeks prior to appointment, had previously worked in the public service and had not been deemed to be new...

234. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated additional cost of ensuring all Civil Service workers receive at least a living wage of €11.70 per hour in 2018; and the equivalent estimate for the wider public sector and semi-State bodies if the requisite information is available. (Question 35713/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In response to the Deputy’s question, the following table sets out the information sought as it relates to my Department and the bodies under its aegis.
 Organisation Additional Annual Cost Department of Public Expenditure and Reform €44,207 National Shared Services Office €717,672 Office of Government Procurement €52,370 Public Appointments Service €182,470 Office of the Ombudsman €42,737 State Laboratory €3...

174. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current system of travel allowances paid to public servants for travel in the conduct of their duties pays a higher rate for those driving in vehicles with larger engine sizes; if he will consider introducing a revised system of allowances that would incentivise travel by bike, public transport and lower pollution vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 32737/17 asked on 11 Jul 2017 - Public Sector Staff Expenses)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): Travel on official duty is an integral part of the functions carried out by many civil and public servants. As a standard principle, public servants should always strive to use public transport for official travel in the first instance, where suitable.
The mileage rates are designed to compensate an officer for the costs incurred in using their own car on official business. The rates are set based on a methodology agreed with t...

149. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding the implementation of the interdepartmental report on fuller working lives to review the public service workforce, particularly relating to the age of retirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30882/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Public Sector Staff)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): On foot of one of the recommendations of the Report of the Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives, my Department, with Public Service employers, was tasked to review the current statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extended participation in the public service workforce up to and including the current and planned age of entitlement to the Contributory State Pension.
In the context of the r...

174. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date on which the rates of pay for secretarial assistants employed by Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas were last increased; his plans to review these rates in view of the large volume of constituency work secretarial assistants deal with; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29709/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Public Sector Staff Remuneration)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The rates of pay for Secretarial Assistants were last increased on 1 September 2008 in line with similar such pay revisions for grades in the public service with whom the Secretarial Assistants would have a correspondence for pay movement purposes. However, Secretarial Assistants are employed on a direct contractual basis by Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas as well as by qualifying political parties and, as such, they w...

441. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the publicjobs.ie recruitment campaign for technical agricultural officers; the place on the order of merit from stage 1 of candidates currently being called to stage 2; the number of candidates who have been employed nationally; the number of candidates who have been employed in County Donegal; the number being recruited currently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29763/17 asked on 27 Jun 2017 - Public Sector Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department is currently working with our recruitment partners, the Public Appointments Service to recruit a number of Technical Agricultural Officers (TAOs) to fill critical business needs in a number of locations across the country. To date 32 newly recruited TAOs have been engaged and 1 new recruit has been assigned to the Donegal region.
 ...