Saturday 25 November 2017

Overtime and 'extras' hit €1bn in State sector

HSE employee earning €202,000 as well as basic salary tops league

Andrew Bushe and Maeve Sheehan

A member of the staff of Health Service Executive (HSE) topped the league of overtime payments in the public service last year, getting an extra €201,886 on top of his basic salary.

The HSE said that the person who was paid €201,886 in overtime worked in the "medical" field but would not give further details.

A total of €651,719 in performance bonuses was also shared by senior HSE managers, including national directors, assistant national directors and hospital network managers.

The HSE also defended spending €10m on retired HSE staff for "services". Most were retired nurses and 150 other retired administrative workers, home helpers and carers. Overall, the taxpayer was hit for a bill of more than €1bn last year to meet the huge cost of overtime and a range of other extra payments and allowances for public servants.

The HSE alone accounted for more than half of the total bill for "extra remuneration", and its staff also topped the league for other extra payments in addition to overtime.

One was paid €160,536 extra under the heading "allowances", another €119,348 was paid to a staffer for being "on-call" and 14,404 workers got payments under a category listed as "other" extra remuneration, including one worker who received €109,373.

"Certain individuals received extra remuneration in more than one category," according to spending watchdog Comptroller & Auditor General John Buckley in his annual report. The report says the HSE also paid out €651,719 in "performance-related pay".

Overall, the HSE accounted for almost €700m of the total bill for extra cash for public servants last year.

There were 24,752 HSE staff who shared a total overtime payout of €193m, 42,272 staff who shared €161m paid out in "allowances" and 66,765 who shared €205m in extra cash for "weekend" payments.

The extra payments bill for gardai last year was €308m -- with one member of the force clocking up €62,792 in overtime.

The total bill for overtime alone for An Garda Siochana was €79m, which was shared among 14,920 members of the force.

Almost 7,000 gardai got overtime payments of more than €10,000 during the year, Mr Buckley's report reveals.

More than €228m was paid to gardai in "other allowances". One received €45,996 under the heading "miscellaneous" and another received €28,331 in "shift and roster allowances".

Again, Mr Buckley points out that some gardai received extra remuneration in more than one category.

Another department that ramps up a major additional payments bill for the taxpayer is Agriculture, whose total bill for extra remuneration was almost €9m last year.

The top overtime earner in Agriculture received €46,937 on top of their pay and another official received almost €26,787 extra under the heading "higher, special or additional duties".

Sunday Independent

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