Dáil debates

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Section 39 Agency Staff Reimbursements: Motion [Private Members]


2:10 pm

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I move:

That Dáil Éireann:notes that:
— there are many Section 39 organisations that receive funding from the Health Service Executive (HSE), though the true figure is unknown even by the HSE;

— these include hospices, disability organisations and other agencies that play a vital role in providing key services for communities across the country;

— Section 39 agencies had pay linkages, for many years, with the public service and received correspondence from the HSE directing them to apply the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) cuts;

— the Labour Court has made recommendations on this long-standing and accepted linkage;

— hospices receive up to 70 per cent of their funding from the State and are now facing service cuts;

— Section 39 employees work as hard and as diligently as those working in the public service and face the same recruitment challenges;

— current pay reductions will have a negative impact on the ability to recruit;

— there was an expectation that pay cuts in Section 39 organisations would replicate the FEMPI cuts made in the public service and, therefore, an expectation that FEMPI pay corrections would also apply;

— the HSE are saying they need extra funding to correct the anomalies;

— the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is expecting the funding to be found without acknowledging that this will have a significant impact on services;

— this current position is fundamentally unfair to Section 39 employers and staff;

— the Government’s response to the valid concerns raised by Section 39 organisations has been dismissive and has added to the feeling of frustration and anxiety felt by the employees of Section 39 organisations; and

— unions are now balloting for industrial action across Section 39 agencies and every effort should be made to defer such action; and
calls on the Government to:
— prevent industrial action taking place in Section 39 agencies, as this will have a negative impact on users of these services;

— address the anomalies and reimburse the FEMPI cuts as was expected;

— recognise that both the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Health need to take responsibility for this issue, primarily in order to prevent services being cut as a result of their ongoing inertia;

— cease passing the buck between departments and prevent cuts being applied to services in order to allow staff to have their FEMPI cuts restored;

— undertake a detailed analysis and commit to a process to reimburse the Section 39 employees who have been paid public service rates and who had the FEMPI cuts applied to them;

— fully implement the Finance Reform programme in the HSE so that Section 39 and Section 38 organisations can be easily identified; and

— establish a mechanism involving the Public Pay Commission and the Workplace Relations Commission, whereby the issue of Section 39 pay disparity can be addressed.

I wish to share time with Deputies Kelleher, Michael Moynihan, Browne and Casey.


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