16. Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to address pay inequality within the public sector. (Question 53243/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017)

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): The issue of addressing the difference in incremental salary scales between those public servants, who entered public service employment since 2011 and those who entered before that date was addressed with the relevant union interests under the provisions of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA).

From 1 November 2013 pre and post-2011 pay scales were merged into a single consolidated scale applicable to each grade. Generally, the third point of 1 November 2013 pay scale is equivalent to the first point of the pre 2011 scale. Certain allowances, previously available to new entrants, were also restored under the flexibility provided for by the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

In general, there are no new entrant scales anymore, there are new scales that start at a lower point i.e. the two initial points on the merged scales.

The Deputy will also be aware that the benefits of the new Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, now ratified by the Public Services Committee of the ICTU, are progressively weighted in favour of new entrants.

The PSSA also recognises the issues of concern in relation to the salaries of new entrants and commits all parties to an examination of these matters within 12 months of the commencement of the Agreement. The first, exploratory meeting, with the full complement of Trade Unions and staff associations, took place on 12 October. This meeting, based on the contributions of all parties, agreed an outline process of oversight and data gathering. This process will be overseen by the Oversight Body for the PSSA. Further engagement will be undertaken over the coming months with those parties that have signed up to the Agreement.

An amendment to the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017 was agreed during Committee Stage on Tuesday 5 December. This allows for a report to be prepared and laid before the Oireachtas on the cost of and a plan in dealing with pay equalisation for new entrants to the public service, within three months of the passing of the Act.