Saturday 16 December 2017

Senior managers at St John of God should be subject to pay cuts under emergency legislation - Paschal Donohoe

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Frank McGrath
Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Frank McGrath

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

SENIOR managers at St John of God should be subject to pay cuts under emergency legislation, like all public sector agencies, a senior minister has warned.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, insisted his department had not granted exemptions to individuals working at so-called 'section 38' organisations within the public sector,  from FEMPI. And he warned that "action" will follow if a breach of public sector pay policy is found following an investigation of the charity.

He was commenting this morning after it emerged that a senior executive at the St John of God charity, John Pepper, received a payment of over €600,000 to cover pension and other liabilities.

The charity argued that he was not subject to FEMPI as he was no longer a ‘section 38’ employee.

Under section 38 of the Health Act, agencies can receive funding from the HSE to provide a range of services and this makes them subject to the same pay rules as the public service.

Siptu has written to Mr Donohoe demanding clarification on the department’s pay policy covering workers in the organisations that receive taxpayer funding.

Mr Donohoe said that public servants cannot report to people who are not public servants, within the state workforce.

He said he would be responding to the union’s letter to say the government “expects fairness” and a “clear application” of FEMPI legislation.

“I expect and the government expects fairness and a clear application of FEMPI legislation,” he said.

“So I do expect that people who are on low and middle incomes within our public and civil service will see those on higher incomes have the same legislation applied to them, in the way the government intended. “

He said his department has not granted any exemptions to the legislation “for that very reason”.

It is understood that the department is seeking clarification on Mr Pepper’s employment status.

In its letter, Siptu said it was a “kick in the teeth” for workers who carried the health services through the emergency that those at the top should be “insulated” from making a proportionate contribution to the nation’s economic recovery.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said top-ups paid to senior managers were “obscene” and multiples of union members’ wages.

FEMPI legislation cut public servants’ pay by over 10pc through a pension levy and pay cuts during the crisis years.

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