Minister Donohoe updates Cabinet on next phase of work by Public Service Pay Commission

17th October, 2017


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Tuesday) briefed Government regarding arrangements for the next phase in the work of the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC).


The Commission, which was charged with examining pay levels across the public service, made its first report to Government in May 2017. This informed negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.


The successor agreement, Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020, which was recently ratified by ICTU, includes a commitment to examine the issue of recruitment and retention difficulties in the public service.


While the evidence collected by the Commission suggests that there are no significant recruitment difficulties across the public service vocational streams, it found evidence of some recruitment and retention issues in certain specific areas of the public service. These include certain areas of the health sector and the Defence Forces, as well as senior executive and professional posts in the civil service.


It suggested that ‘a more comprehensive examination of underlying difficulties’ could take place where ‘such difficulties are clearly evident’.


The recently ratified Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 provides for such an examination to take place and accordingly, the Government have endorsed the Terms of Reference as set out below.


Minister Donohoe said: ‘Today I updated Government on the next phase of work by the Public Service Pay Commission. This aims to determine to what extent, if any, issues relating to the recruitment and retention of staff exist within certain sectors of the public service. The Commission played a central role by feeding into negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and I look forward to meeting with them shortly to discuss this next exercise’.


Terms of Reference


In accordance with Section 3 of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 and consistent with its overall Terms of Reference, the Commission should:

  1. Seek to establish in the first instance whether, and to what extent, a difficulty exists in terms of recruitment and retention for specific groups/grades/sectors of the public service;
  2. Where a difficulty is identified, examine the full range of causal factors, having regard as the Commission considers relevant to:
    • The totality of the current remuneration package available;
    • The planned future pay adjustments and alleviations from current rates of the Pension Related Deduction (PRD) provided for in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020;
    • Remaining Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) pay unwinding post 2020, where applicable;
    • Supply constraints, for example, of newly qualified graduates of relevant post-leaving cert /3rd level programmes;
    • Work environment/organisational issues;
    • Career structures;
    • Learning and development provision;
    • Communications/engagement;
    • Other relevant HR practice or organisational issues; and
    • Any other factor considered relevant by the Commission.


  1. Develop appropriate methodological and analytical criteria to ensure a robust evidence-based approach to this exercise;
  2. Have regard to arrangements and best practice in other jurisdictions and, where appropriate, the domestic private sector in Ireland in relation to such issues, particularly in respect of those areas where a global labour market exists as well as the responses being adopted in other jurisdictions where similar recruitment and retention problems pertain;
  3. Commission such external expertise as the Commission deems necessary to inform its deliberations in the context of the methodologies developed;
  4. Provide the parties to the Public Service stability Agreement 2018 – 2020 with the opportunity to make submissions to the Commission;
  5. Generate a range of costed options for resolving the specific issues identified having full regard to the fiscal constraints and requirements on Government to manage the Exchequer pay bill in a sustainable way over the medium and long-term;
  6. Produce a final report to the Minister by end-2018 and/or at such interim stages as the Commission may decide.