Family support workers win regrade

family support pic

IMPACT has secured an agreement with Tusla on the regrading of family support workers. The deal with the child and families support agency will see workers assimilated onto a new salary scale, with the arrangement backdated to January 2014. The staff will now be paid on same scale as unqualified social care workers.

A 2014 review of family support workers (FSW) recommended that they be regraded and their new grade title changed to family support practitioner (FSP). IMPACT assistant general secretary Chris Cully said that, despite the completion of the review in 2014, it took until December 2016 to get the recommendations approved by two Government departments.

“After securing approval at department level, we had to negotiate the terms of assimilation of the FSWs to the new FSP salary scale with Tusla. The salary scale for FSPs will be the same as the social care worker (unqualified) salary scale. We also secured an agreement that the effective date of assimilation will be 1st January 2014.

“It’s a very favourable outcome following a difficult process. There is no doubt that the threat of industrial action, which was backed by a margin of 98% last November, was pivotal in securing the final approval. This result, which will see a boost in pay for the new FSP grade, could not have been achieved without the tireless work of the family support worker representatives,” she said.

Clerical job evaluation

Chris said that substantial progress has also been achieved through a Tusla job evaluation scheme. A review of clerical and administrative grades was recommended by an independent report, following the transfer of staff from the HSE to Tusla.

“The review took a long time to get from agreement to implementation, but we are now at a stage where all appeals, dealing with grades III to VI, were finalised by 1st February. The scheme doesn’t provide for assessing grades above that of grade VI, so people working above that grade were assessed by an agreed independent assessor. That process is ongoing,” she said.

Chris said that Tusla has also committed to an overall re-examination of the grading structures, in consultation with IMPACT, once the individual grade review and appeals process are complete.

“The purpose of the phase II examination is to ensure that the grading structures are consistent nationally, and to examine any regional disparities. We’re seeking the commencement of phase II of the review as soon as the all the appeals are completed. We’re hopeful that this may provide a further opportunity for some members who were unsuccessful in the first round of grade reviews,” she said.