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Gap 'closes' between public and private sector pay



ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell

ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell

ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell

The gap between public and private sector pay is narrowing, according to a new report.

An analysis of the difference between the wages of Government staff and the rest of the workforce between 2015 and last year has found it is not as big as it used to be.

But business group the Irish SME Association described the analysis by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) as "self-serving".

Chief executive Neil McDonnell said it is carried out from time to time "in order to justify the public/private pay gap".

"The manner in which it is conducted locally gives us little to go on by way of international comparison, because they appear to generate their own rules for this particular study," he said.

"As you would expect in an economy approaching full employment, the gap has been closing in percentage terms for some time. This closure stopped in Q2 2019, and the gap is widening, back out to 38pc."

The new CSO research found the differential in pay for full-time workers in the two sectors, calculated using varied methods, was higher in 2011 than last year.

For example, in a calculation based on weekly earnings and the size of the enterprise, it found public servants were paid 9.5pc more in 2011 but earned 0.3pc less by last year.

The calculations were made after the CSO took a number of factors into account, including the size of the organisation and a pension levy paid by State workers.

When none of these is accounted for, the latest earnings data from the CSO shows that public servants earn 38pc more than private sector workers.

Weekly public service earnings stood at €980.98 in the second quarter of this year, compared with €709.98 in the private sector, a difference of €271 a week.

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