Pay Increases for Schools: The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, welcomed the recent arbitration decision which recommended significant pay increases for School Secretaries and Caretakers.
A cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 was recommended for School Secretaries and Caretakers comprehended by the terms of the arbitration process. In addition, a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 for such staff will be phased in over the period 2016 to 2019. Circulars were issued by the Department of Education and Skills today, which implement the first phase of increases from 1 January 2016 i.e. a 2.5% increase in the hourly pay rate and the introduction of a minimum hourly pay rate of €10.25.
The Minister stated:
“The arbitration findings are a significant step in addressing the pay concerns of a cohort who are among the lowest paid staff in the education sector and who play a vital role in the running of our schools. The Arbitrator’s recommendations, which I am pleased to accept, have also been accepted by the union side. While the Government must maintain a sustainable approach to the cost of services, including in the education sector, as economic recovery takes hold we expect to see the benefits of that recovery being shared by all, especially those on low pay
“The announcement today builds on the work carried out by the Government over recent months to tackle low pay more generally. This work has included the establishment of the Low Pay Commission, increasing the minimum wage, and assessing the prevalence of low hours contracts in the Irish workforce.”
The Minister committed to increasing the various grants which are used by schools to employ School Secretaries and Caretakers in 2016 in order to enable schools to pay the increase in the hourly rate. Where a school currently pays an hourly rate of less than €10 per hour and will have insufficient funds in 2016 to pay the new minimum hourly rate of €10.25, an application process has been put in place through which the school can apply to the Department for additional funding.
The Minister expressed her thanks to the Arbitrator (Kevin Foley of the Labour Court) and his colleagues for their work in developing the recommendations.
The majority of primary schools and voluntary secondary schools receive grant assistance to provide for secretarial and/or caretaking services. Within the grant schemes, the level and extent of services provided is a matter for school management who, through the discretion afforded under the scheme, apply diverse arrangements for secretarial and/or caretaking services as resources permit.
Where a school uses the grant funding to employ a Secretary and/or Caretaker, such staff are employees of the individual school. The pay and conditions under which such staff are engaged are matters to be agreed between the staff concerned and the school management, subject to any relevant statutory provisions.
Notwithstanding the above, it was agreed that the Department of Education and Skills would engage in an arbitration process regarding the pay of School Secretaries and Caretakers.
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