Majority of Central Bank workers given holiday top-up
AWARDS of bonus time off were made to three-quarters of staff at the Central Bank last year.
And 67 staff received five extra days, on top of their annual leave, recognising "exemplary performance".
The majority received one extra holiday day, as their performance was rated as "meets (sometimes exceeds) expectations".
The scheme cost the bank just over €600,000 in 2015, as 1,169 staff were awarded extra leave. The cost in 2014 was €790,000, as 1,030 staff received bonus days off.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the so-called merit leave was not common in either the public or civil service, but said HR practices may differ across individual bodies.
Under the process, staff performance is assessed and then rewarded depending on the score achieved.
It is also awarded on condition that the Central Bank meets its own performance targets, as measured by the Central Bank Commission.
In the three years since those targets were rolled out, known as the Balanced Scorecard, the bank has received a top grade each year.
"Strong performance standards are established for staff each year, and performance is assessed and recognised within the Performance Management and Development Programme (PMDP)," a Central Bank spokeswoman said.
"Those members of staff deemed to have delivered an effective performance under the performance management system are awarded merit leave on the basis of both their own performance and on condition that the bank meets a minimum of 85pc of the objectives set out under the Balanced Scorecard."
Staff at the bank have annual leave allowances of up to 32 days, depending on grade and position. Last year, 1,169 staff at the bank were awarded merit leave, on top of their annual leave allowance.
The bank said 776 staff were given one day off, which means they were rated "meets (sometimes exceeds) expectations", while 326 staff received three days extra leave as they were rated "exceeds expectations" and 67 staff were handed an extra five days' holidays, as they were deemed to have had an "exemplary performance".
In 2014, 1,084 staff benefited, including 60 who received five days, 311 who got three days and 659 who received two days.
This cost the bank €790,000.
In 2013, 1,084 were awarded merit leave, including 117 who got five days, 428 who received three days and 539 who received one day.
The process was introduced in 2012, but figures were unavailable for that year.
Technical and general staff, which include engineering, mint staff and catering, are not eligible for the merit leave process.
Last year, under the Balanced Scorecard measuring the bank's performance, the Central Bank received an 87pc score. In 2014 it was 90pc and 88pc in 2013.