| 7.9°C Dublin

HSE staff get a €36k 3-year 'career break'

HSE staff have been offered a sweetener of €36,000 for a three-year career break in a desperate attempt to slash costs.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has set a target to reduce staff numbers by 1,500.

Health workers were sent a circular outlining the deal which would offer one-third of the worker's gross salary, up to a maximum of €12,000 per year.



The Government has already identified that the sector needs to reduce staff numbers by 4,000 this year.

The deadline for applications is May 31 and the career break kicks in on July 1, but this may be deferred to as late as the last day of 2013.

There is no upper limit on the number of workers who may apply for the scheme and managers are being urged to facilitate applications "to the maximum extent possible".

Once the person returns from the career break, they will be assigned to the next appropriate vacancy within a 45km radius.

They are guaranteed re-employment at the relevant grade within a year.

The circular says: "A career break may be allowed for family reasons, other domestic purposes, travel abroad, volunteering overseas, self-employment or education."

The worker is not available for taking up paid employment in the State, with any agency or company providing services to a publicly funded body.

In 2012 the HSE overspent by €360m and in January, the organisation committed in its 2013 service plan to make €150m in savings from public service pay agreements.

However, the failure of public sector unions to agree a new deal has meant the organisation is looking to new areas to make the savings.

The last incentivised career break offered by the HSE in 2009 only attracted a couple of hundred workers – it offered €12,500 a year.



Meanwhile, the HSE is recruiting for at least five new accounting positions despite the recruitment embargo for its healthcare staff.

It has advertised for a 'grade eight' accountant in the corporate sector, at a salary of €64,812-€78,889.

It is just one of at least five permanent, pensionable positions on offer.