Enable Ireland issue statement on funding for Section 39 pay agreement and impact of proposed public sector pay deal on pay parity

January 31 2024

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Enable Ireland issued the following statement on funding for Section 39 pay agreement and on the impact of the proposed public sector pay deal of 26/1/23 on Section 39 pay parity.

The statement reads: 

“In November 2023, trade unions and Government agreed a pay proposal for Section 39 workers which successfully averted a strike at the last moment. Since then, as a Section 39 employer, we have engaged with the HSE to ensure that the agreed pay increase and arrears are passed on to our staff. We have recently been advised by the HSE of an interim allocation to be made available to progress a phased payment of the award. However, we are concerned that this funding, which we will receive shortly, may not be sufficient to cover the initial phase of the pay award and costs for our staff.

A key issue for us as a Section 39 employer is that the full cost of services provided is funded as part of any agreement, including associated pension and employer PRSI costs for every post. Without agreement to fund the full cost of services provided by staff in these roles, pay equality for Section 39 staff will not be achieved.

We urgently call on the HSE to confirm that the funding to be released will be adequate to cover all employer costs including pension and PRSI costs in order for Section 39 organisations like Enable Ireland to progress payment of the award and arrears to staff as agreed by all parties last year.

The agreement in November marked a positive step in moving Section 39 Pay Scales towards parity and alignment with those of the HSE. However, the announcement of the proposed pay increase of 10.25% over the next two and half years for public sector workers means that gap between Section 39 workers and their HSE counterparts will widen even further.

We urgently call on Government not to allow Section 39 workers to fall behind even further. We call on all parties to continue the positive momentum from the end of last year and to continue meaningful talks for re-aligning Section 39 staff pay rates with that of their HSE counterparts by the end of this new agreement. Now more than ever it is vital that Government provide further detail and solid assurances about a path to equal pay for Enable Ireland workers with their HSE and Section 38 colleagues. “