Voluntary exit agreement for exceptional circumstances

10th July 2012

A new agreement on voluntary exits from the public service “where circumstances require it” is primarily designed for situations affecting staff not covered by the Croke Park agreement. However, it could also be used under Croke Park in exceptional circumstances.

The public service-wide agreement between unions and the Government could cover cases where workers on fixed-term contracts are let go and situations involving others not covered by Croke Park. It could also be used if the Government decided to offer a specific group of workers voluntary severance.

Redundancy terms set out in the agreement are effectively the same as those that applied in the HSE in late 2010: three weeks’ pay for each year of service, plus the statutory redundancy payment.

IMPACT understands that it could be used to offer redundancies to small groups of staff when the Croke Park redeployment option is impractical or unsuitable.


Collective Agreement: Enhanced Redundancy Payments to Public Servants

Under the Public Service Agreement 2010 – 2014 the parties have agreed that Public Service numbers will be reduced in accordance with Government policy on public service numbers, as implemented through Employment Control Frameworks. To that end, the Agreement states (paragraph 1.5) that, where the circumstances require it, the Government may offer voluntary mechanisms to exit the public service, whether generally or in specific sectors, bodies, locations or services.

The Agreement includes a commitment (paragraph 1.6) by public service management that compulsory redundancy will not apply within the Public Service; however this is subject to some key qualifications, namely that it is subject to compliance with the terms of the Agreement, in particular on flexibility on redeployment. There is a saver for circumstances “where existing exit mechanisms apply”. There are established practices for making public servants redundant in appropriate circumstances, on the expiry of employment contracts or where redundancy terms have been agreed or generally applied1.

It has been agreed on behalf of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of ICTU that the following will apply, with effect from 1 June 2012, on the redundancy of a public servant as defined under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 20112 or group or class of public servants3:

  • Any ex gratia payment will amount to no more than 3 weeks pay per year of service, subject to the total statutory redundancy and ex gratia payment not exceeding either 2 years’ pay or one half of the salary payable to preserved pension age, whichever is less;
  • In accordance with the provisions in the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 – 2007, public servants in employment for less than 2 years [104 weeks] are not eligible for a severance payment (statutory or ex gratia);
  • Public servants will be advised in writing prior to acceptance of the ex gratia payment that s/he will not be eligible for re-employment in the public service by any public service body (as defined by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2011) for a period of two years from termination of the employment. Thereafter the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will be required prior to re-employment. This declaration will also include an authorisation that their information (PPS number and details) can be used by their employer or any other public service body for the purposes of monitoring compliance with this provision.

This collective agreement will be reviewed from time to time in light of the prevailing economic and fiscal conditions.

1The Implementation Body established under the Agreement has noted [17 February 2012] that it was not intended that these practices would be superseded by the Agreement.
2Including public servants employed for a fixed term, meeting the criteria for redundancy under the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 to 2007 and to whom a redundancy payment is required to be paid in accordance with the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003.
3A public service employer may seek the sanction of its parent Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to make a collective agreement with a body representing relevant employees that varies some or all of the terms of this agreement. The redundancy arrangements specified under DES Circular 0058/2006 are unaffected by this collective agreement.