Thursday, November 22 16:37:32
The current system of public sector allowances is not fit for purpose and brings discredit to the legitimate expectations of public servants for proper pay and recognition, according to a new report from the Committee of Public Accounts today.
The Report on Public Sector Allowances said that the proliferation of allowances does not meet the expectation of the taxpayer for a modern, transparent and flexible pay system capable of meeting the many challenges facing our country.
"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. Our Report also shows that the majority of allowances go to front line staff and that for many of the low paid workers in the public service, allowances can represent a significant portion of take-home pay," said Chairman of the Committee John McGuinness.
On the review of Oireachtas allowances, the Committee agreed that these allowances should be the subject of similar public scrutiny. "The systems put in place in 2009 require significant change and our report calls for greater transparency with all payments being vouched or verified."
The report makes a number of recommendations which seek to improve the current systems and structures of pay in the public sector.
These include universal allowances that are paid to all members of a grade should be incorporated into core pay; the number of allowances should be consolidated and the long tail of allowances, where small allowances in monetary terms are paid to small numbers of staff, must 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 and the level and manner of payment of Oireachtas allowances should be determined by an independent authority, it said.