Health staff are due a 1% pay increase with effect from 1st January 2018, under the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) negotiated by Fórsa and other public service unions. The next instalment of the deal, which was backed by members of the three unions that recently amalgamated to create our new union, will see a further 1% adjustment in October.
The January pay adjustment goes to HSE staff as well as those in voluntary hospitals and other ‘section 38’ agencies. Fórsa is also campaigning for pay restoration for staff in ‘section 39’ agencies.
In total, the PSSA will deliver income restoration worth over 7% of salary to more than 70% of public servants between now and 2020.
Late last year, a timetable for the full abolition of FEMPI legislation, which underpinned public service pay cuts and pension levies, was officially outlined with the publication of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill. This also gave effect to the provisions of the PSSA.
Fórsa general secretary Shay Cody said the legislation was a landmark in the union campaign to restore incomes, which were cut by an average of around 14% under FEMPI during the recession.
“This legislation underpins the pay adjustments agreed in the PSSA deal, including a 1% increase due now. More significantly, it establishes a legal timetable for the dismantling of the hated FEMPI legislation. This is what Fórsa and other unions have been working for since the pension levy was first imposed on public servants in 2009,” he said.
The PSSA will see pay lost through ‘FEMPI’ legislation restored to more than 90% of public servants – those earning up to €70,000 a year – by the end of 2020. Almost all the rest will see full pay restoration within a further two years.
It also preserves the value of public service pensions, while taking almost a quarter of public servants out of FEMPI pension levy provisions by 2020. This will be done by increasing the pension levy ceiling from €28,750 to €34,500 for all staff except those who benefit from ‘fast accrual’ pension arrangements. This will be worth a total of €575 per year.
Any remaining pension levy will be converted into a ‘pension related deduction’ (PRD). Staff who joined the public service on or after 1st January 2013 will pay a smaller additional contribution, reflecting the fact that their pension benefits are different to the schemes applying to those who joined before that date.
The legislation repeals the 2009 FEMPI Act with effect from 1st January 2018. It also repeals section 2(3) of the 2009 FEMPI No.2 Act – the legislation that reduced fixed periodic allowances by 5% – from 1st October 2020. Section 5(1) of the 2009 Act is also repealed from January 2021, which will allow the Labour Court and WRC to consider ‘cost-increasing claims’ from that date.
PSSA income adjustments
• 1st January 2018: 1% pay adjustment
• 1st October 2018: 1% pay adjustment
• 1st January 2019: Pension levy threshold up from €28,750 to €32,000 (worth €325pa)
• 1st January 2019: 1% pay adjustment for those earning less than €30,000
• 1st September 2019: 1.75% pay adjustment
• 1st January 2020: Pension levy threshold increased to €34,500 (worth €250pa)
• 1st January 2020: 0.5% pay increase for those earning less than €32,000
• 1st October 2020: 2% pay adjustment