Staff given extra time to decide on HSE exit scheme
HEALTH officials have given 3,800 staff who applied for the HSE's €400m exit scheme more time to decide whether they want to go.
The HSE has extended a deadline for them to make up their minds about accepting offers to leave until next Friday.
They had been asked to make their intentions known by yesterday in relation to the voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes announced last month.
But management last night said it was giving them more time to ensure they had "as much support and information as possible".
"To facilitate this, and to allow for as many final calculations as possible to be made, the deadline for final acceptance has been extended to 5pm on Friday, December 3 (from December 1)," it said.
The once-off schemes were announced in a bid to get rid of up to 5,000 management and administrative staff and save €200m a year.
Health Minister Mary Harney confirmed yesterday that the number of employees seeking to avail of the schemes has fallen to 3,143.
Speaking at an Oireachtas health committee, Ms Harney said that 662 staff had withdrawn their applications.
Those who are accepted into the voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes must be gone by the end of December.
The departures are part of the Government's four-year recovery plan, which aims to cut the number of public servants by over 24,750 -- to 294,700 -- by the end of 2014.
Under the HSE schemes, senior managers could walk away with payouts of up to €350,000, as well as a generous pension.
An assistant national director on €100,000 with 40 years' service gets an immediate redundancy payment of €200,000, a lump sum of €150,000 on reaching retirement and a pension of nearly €38,000.
More than 3,800 applications were received and applicants are being issued with letters of final offer this week.
The HSE said it had put supports -- including daily internet updates, a telephone support service and staff information meetings -- in place to help people decide.
National Director of Human Resources, Sean McGrath, said management was drawing up contingency plans to ensure the staff exodus does not hit frontline services.