Garda pension again comes in for comment. Open season on Garda pensions………..

Commission hears remuneration for most State employees remains very attractive The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has said there was “no problem” in recruiting new entrants to the public service in general on existing terms. File photograph: Getty Images   The Government has indicated that top-level specialist positions are the areas in greatest need of pay rises in the public service and that in the main, remuneration levels for State employees at other levels are very attractive. In a confidential submission to the new Public Service Pay Commission – which is looking at remuneration for all 300,000 people on the State payroll including gardaí, teachers and civil servants – the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said there was “no problem” in recruiting new entrants to the public service in general on existing terms. It said all the evidence suggested that public service pay remained very attractive, particularly for new entrants. Unions representing staff across the public service are seeking new pay increases in the wake of the €50 million deal secured by gardaí in recent weeks. The submission, seen by The Irish Times, has made clear the Government wants the Pay Commission to take into account the increasing value of a public service pension when making recommendation on remuneration for State employees next year. It is understood that Government representatives strongly stressed this issue at a meeting with the Pay Commission on Monday. In 2007, the public service benchmarking body applied a 12 per cent discount to take account of pensions, and the Department of Public Expenditure submission suggests that a greater value should be ascribed to superannuation benefits on this occasion.

Garda pensions

The move comes as a report on pay and industrial relations in An Garda Síochána published on Monday suggested pension arrangements for gardaí may be worth about €40,000 a year.

The Department of Public Expenditure is to make a more detailed submission on pensions to the Pay Commission early next year.

The department in its submission said the continued ability to recruit public servants and the overall rise in the number of staff on the State payroll indicated that entry-level pay – including overtime and allowances – were “competitive in the wider labour market”.

It said it would “welcome input from the Public Service Pay Commission on these issues” and on whether “remuneration offered to new entrants would normally be varied in line with the economic cycle”.

The department said that the Public Appointment Service – which provides recruitment services for State bodies – had found that recruitment issues, where they existed, were at senior level and in specialist areas. Existing pay levels in the public service had now become “a real disincentive” in seeking to attract senior personnel in key areas such as human resources, information technology and finance from the private sector, it said.

“In 2015, the Public Appointment Service managed the recruitment process for a number of specialist roles primarily in HR, IT and finance at a senior level in Government departments and the broader Civil Service. Feedback from their executive search function suggests that candidates have been very interested in these roles, particularly given the opportunity to make a difference at a senior level in large-scale organisations, such as Government departments. However, the challenge has been that the remuneration (salary and benefits) the candidates currently earn is at least 30 per cent higher than that on offer in the Civil Service.”

Application numbers

It noted though that posts at lower levels attracted large numbers of applicants. More than 46,000 people applied for Civil Service entry grades of clerical officer, executive officer and administrative officer in competitions held in 2014 and 2015 and 30,000 applications had been received as part of a new competition for clerical officers that is currently underway.

“A recruitment campaign for temporary clerical officers was held in March 2015, there were 14,153 applications and 2,613 appointments made.”

The department also submitted that public service pay could not be examined in isolation and must be viewed as part of a total employment package including other elements that provided tangible value such as pensions and job security.

“The department considers that these benefits and conditions are extremely valuable.” It said the value of public service pensions was “greater now than it has been historically”.