Saturday 20 January 2018

RTÉ targets over-55s for retirement in clearout at Montrose

Stock photo
Stock photo

Robin Schiller

RTÉ has targeted employees over the age of 55 for early retirement in tandem with its voluntary redundancy scheme to reduce staff numbers at Montrose by 250.

All employees over the age of 55 received a letter in the post yesterday morning or were called in for one-on-one meetings to discuss their 'personalised illustration' offer.

The redundancy and early retirement schemes were described as "generous" by one financial expert and it is understood there has been significant interest. But one source said there was an air of despondency yesterday at the broadcaster, as details of the exit schemes became clear and staff realised the deep impact on personnel at the station.

Those who accept are likely to be gone by Christmas. Workers have until October 10 to apply for the scheme, and "will be facilitated to leave in December" of this year, according to the information booklet circulated to employees.

The Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme has been made available to all staff aged 55 or over at exit.

It involves a lump sum payment based on age and pensionable service. There is an option to take part of the lump sum as an annual income stream until pension benefits become payable.

This is inclusive of statutory redundancy, and there is a cap of the lesser of two years' salary or a payment based on half the time remaining to age 65.

A separate Voluntary Severance Scheme is available to staff who will be under the age of 55 at the time of their departure.

It is a lump-sum payment based on years of service, with those with two to five years getting four weeks per year.

This rises to five weeks per year for those with five to 10 years' service, and six weeks per year for those who have been at RTÉ for more than a decade.

This is inclusive of statutory redundancy and there is a cap of 104 weeks.

Redundancy and pensions expert Vincent Digby of Dublin-based Impartial Financial Advice said the redundancy terms "are generous in comparison to what we are seeing elsewhere in the marketplace".

RTÉ has also placed certain restrictions on any employee who avails of the scheme, which include being ineligible to work with the broadcaster in any capacity save in exceptional circumstances "with the prior written approval of the Director-General".

Employees who plan to exit RTÉ in December will also require written consent from the national broadcaster to "provide a comparable service" with any broadcast or media.

These terms last for one year after the employee leaves RTÉ.

The information booklet states that the employee "will not proceed with such role until consent from RTÉ has been provided. RTÉ, in considering whether to grant or withhold consent, will have regard to the position held by you in RTÉ and the nature of the position you intend to take up in the broadcast or media organisation concerned".

Irish Independent

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