PAC says many allowances are core pay

30th November 2012

Many public service allowances form part of core pay and many lower paid workers are dependent on allowances for a “significant proportion of take-home pay,” according to a report from the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The report, which many had expected to be critical of the payment of allowances, also found that “the majority of allowances go to front line staff” and said the complex system of allowances “brings discredit to the legitimate expectations of public servants for proper pay and recognition.”

Launching the report on 22nd November, the committee’s chair John McGuinness said: “A root and branch reform is necessary which should see many allowances transferred into core pay and a plethora of allowances that are paid for extra duties being reduced to a small number of generic type payments that will pay the same amount to those doing this extra work.”

Last month, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform instructed Government departments and offices to open talks with unions about the abolition of some allowances currently paid to existing public servants.

The PAC report said the proliferation of allowances was bad for taxpayers and recommended that:

  • Universal allowances that are paid to all members of a grade should be incorporated into core pay
  • The number of allowances should be consolidated
  • Small allowances paid to small numbers of staff should be replaced by “a small number of generic allowances that recognise specific duties”
  • All expenses should be vouched or verified, including those allowances paid to members of the Oireachtas
  • The level and manner of payment of Oireachtas allowances should be determined by an independent authority.

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody and other officers of the ICTU Public Services Committee gave evidence to the PAC in October.