2. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence his views on reports that young privates in the Defence Forces who recently passed out are earning less than the minimum wage; his plans to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11198/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.

Defence Forces pay is increasing in accordance with public sector pay agreements. The focus of these increases is weighted in favour of those on lower pay. Members of the Permanent Defence Force have received the pay increases due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

In addition, following negotiations with PDFORRA on behalf of their members, improved payscales for general service recruits and privates who joined the Permanent Defence Force post 1 January 2013, were backdated to 1 July 2016 and paid in August 2017.

The Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 provides for further increases in pay ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the lifetime of the Agreement with the benefits, once again, weighted towards those on lower pay. By the end of the Agreement the payscales for all public servants earning up to €70,000 will be restored to the levels that existed prior to the Financial Emergency legislation.

The first incremental increase under this agreement of 1% in annualised salaries due from 1 January 2018 has been paid to enlisted personnel.

Following these revisions in pay, the starting pay for a newly qualified three star private, and their Naval Service equivalent, (inclusive of military service allowance) is €27,257, gross annual earnings, with scope for further income from duty allowances.

The non-standard time and attendance patterns of military personnel and the rates of remuneration associated with a wide spectrum of duties undertaken by such military personnel can vary across the different branches of the Defence Forces and, consequently, does not facilitate the general application of a threshold rate of pay.