Public Service Stability Agreement Ballot
Irish Medical Organisation

Public Service Stability Agreement Ballot

Public Service Stability Agreement (2018-2020)

The IMO was involved in protracted negotiations on a new public service pay agreement which gave rise to the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020 (PSSA 2018 – 2020). The Agreement was considered by the various craft committees of the IMO, and also by the IMO Council.   The Council, as the governing body of the IMO, decided to put the PSA 2018 – 2020 to a ballot of members with a recommendation to accept the agreement.

To access a copy of the full Agreement please click here

Operation of Agreement

If ratified, this agreement will come into effect on 1st January 2018 and will run until 31st December 2020. Outstanding pay restoration items from the current Lansdowne Road Agreement, which is scheduled to run until mid-year 2018, will continue to apply.

FEMPI

The principle intention of the agreement is to continue the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Acts, which were used to cut the pay of public servants in the period 2009 – 2013.

Accordingly, under the terms of this agreement, more than ninety percent of public servants will have exited FEMPI reductions by the conclusion of this agreement.

There will be some public servants whose pay will not be restored to pre-crash levels during the lifetime of this Agreement. The IMO, and the other public service unions, have been informed that it is the ‘ambition’ of the Government to wholly unwind FEMPI within the shortest time frame possible. However, this is a political decision and is without the terms of this Agreement.

Pay Measures

The following pay measures – the unwinding of FEMPI pay reductions – will apply across the lifetime of this agreement:

•             1st January 2018, annualised salaries to be increased by 1%

•             1st October 2018, annualised salaries to be increased by 1%

•             1st January 2019, annualised salaries up to €30,000 to be increased by 1%

•             1st September 2019, annualised salaries to be increased by 1.75%

•             1st January 2020, annualised salaries up to €32,000 to be increased by 0.5%

•             1st October 2020, annualised salaries to be increased by 2%.

It should be noted that only those earning less than €30,000 and €32,000 respectively will receive the increases applicable on 1 Jan 2019 and 1st Jan 2020.

It should be borne in mind, that pay restoration under the current Lansdowne Road Agreement will also continue into 2018 and 2019 where provided for in that agreement.

By way of clarification, an ‘annualised salary’ is the salary specified in the most recently issued pay circular.

Pension Related Deduction

As part of the unwinding of FEMPI, the Government has agreed that the Pension Related Deduction (PRD) will be replaced by a permanent Additional Superannuation Contribution (ASC).

If the PSSA 2018 – 2020 is accepted, the ASC will become effective on 1st January 2019 and will operate as follows:

Public Servants who are Members of pre-2013 Pension Schemes with Standard Accrual Terms

•             1st January 2019

•             Up to €32,000 – exempt

•             €32,000 to €60,000 – 10%

•             €60,000 plus – 10.5%

•             1st January 2020

•             Up to €34,500 – exempt

•             €34,500 to €60,000 – 10%

•             €60,000 plus – 10.5%

Public Servants who are Members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme (i.e. entrants since 1st January 2013)

•             1st January 2019

•             Up to €32,000 – exempt

•             €32,000 to €60,000 – 6.66%

•             €60,000 plus – 7%

•             1st January 2020

•             Up to €34,500 – exempt

•             € 34,500 to €60,000 – 3.33%

•             €60,000 plus – 3.5%

It is important to note that the ASC, unlike the current PRD, will apply to pensionable remuneration only so will now exclude overtime.

Recruitment and Retention

In light of the recruitment and retention issues affecting the medical profession, and the health service in general, a process is to commence under the Public Service Pay Commission to comprehensively examine those areas of the public service where recruitment and retention issues are clearly evident. The IMO consider this may represent an opportunity to address the different and unequal salary scales for Consultants, and also the retention crisis affecting NCHDs and Public / Community Health Doctors. At the insistence of the IMO, and others, this process was time limited and commitment to engage with the relevant parties on foot of the Commission’s recommendations is also in the agreement.

In follow up meetings with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of ICTU, the IMO pressed for and achieved the following commitments:

  • Medical recruitment and retention will be examined by the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) immediately if this agreement is ratified.

 

  • The PSPC will engage relevant independent experts, to assist them in examining underlying difficulties in recruitment and retention of medical staff, who will forward a report to the PSPC.

 

  • The PSPC will, informed by this expert report, recommend options for resolving the problems identified.

 

  • The PSPC has confirmed that it will adopt a modular approach to its work, i.e. some sectors/grades will be examined independently of other sectors and within an earlier timeframe. This approach will allow for a report to issue earlier than the timeframe that is set out in the original proposal, i.e. the end of 2018.

 

  • It has now been confirmed that medical staffing will be examined in the first module with the PSPC issuing a report during the second quarter of 2018.

  • Within four weeks of the receipt of the proposals from the PSPC, detailed in the first modular report, management have committed to meeting with the IMO to discuss implementation.

DPER have confirmed to the IMO that in the event of the IMO not accepting PSSA 2018 – 2020, there can be no guarantee that the IMO will be a participant in this process.

New Entrants

Clearly, the issues of recruitment and retention and new entrants are linked.  An acknowledgement was secured that issues affecting post 1st January 2011 ‘new entrants’ still fall to be addressed, and will be reviewed by the parties to the agreement. Uniquely for the IMO, our ‘new entrants’ were further hit by the September 2012 cut. However, for those appointed between January 2011 and September 2012, this process may offer a way to address their issues.

Time and Attendance Systems

The Government side are insistent that more modern time and attendance systems, including electronic systems must be introduced. Where it is proposed to introduce, develop, modernise or update current time and attendance systems, consultations and, where necessary, industrial relations engagement with the IMO must take place.

Working Hours

The Government side were unyielding in their determination to maintain the additional productivity generated by additional hours under the Haddington Road Agreement. However, in recognition of work-life balance issues, public servants may, at defined points, seek to arrange to return to their pre – Haddington Road Agreement hours. However, there will be a compensatory reduction in salary should this occur.

Pensions In Payment

The PSSA 2018 – 2020 provides relief for those who retired after February 2012 when the ‘grace period’ on which one could retire on a pension based on pre – FEMPI salaries expired. The Agreement seeks to restore the pensions of those who retired after February 2012 to the levels enjoyed by pre – February 2012 retirees. The Agreement also contains a commitment by the Government not to enact the ‘index linking’ provisions of pension’s legislation during the currency of this Agreement.  

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