Bonuses for Irish Water staff can be raised
Irish Water employees can potentially increase any bonus paid to them by more than 2pc due to a "multiplier" in the performance-related payment scheme at the company.
Staff at both Irish Water and its parent company Ervia have the opportunity to have their bonuses increased if they reach targets they have been set at the start of the year, according to documents seen by RTE.
When targets are met at the company, individual performance bonus payments paid to staff can be multiplied by a factor of 1.1, or 10pc.
And, if the "business unit" they are working in also reaches its targets, the original bonus and the 10pc increase are added together and multiplied a second time by 10pc.
Staff at Irish Water and Ervia can enjoy bonuses of up to 19pc through the companies' "performance-related awards scheme", which was introduced to Ervia, formerly Bord Gáis, in 2013.
Staff at Irish Water and Ervia are divided into five categories in this system. Senior managers at Irish Water who meet their targets can potentially earn a bonus of 14pc. Meanwhile, senior members of staff in Ervia who "consistently meet expectations" can get up to 19pc.
Late last year, Environment Minister Alan Kelly ordered a review into the performance awards system at Irish Water, as he did not want a "bonus culture" to emerge at the State body.
Ervia yesterday confirmed that this "multiplier" is a part of the system in place, but a spokesperson said that it has resulted in the performance-related payments to staff being reduced over the last two years.
If the targets set out are not met, the multiplier is reduced below a factor of one, for example 0.8, cutting bonus payments.
An Ervia spokesperson said this system has not been applied to Irish Water staff as bonus payments have not been paid there.
Michael McNicholas, chief executive of Ervia, said the new pay model was introduced to Bord Gáis in 2012 with the aim of reducing "the overall payroll costs".
"In the past, we actually did have bonuses for some of our managers. We do not have any bonuses in Ervia Group today under this pay model.
"We have replaced it with a performance-based model, where an element of every individual's pay is at risk," Mr McNicholas said on RTE's 'This Week' programme.
Fianna Fáil's Barry Cowen called on Mr Kelly to "immediately clarify" the situation.