Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Education and Skills

School Services Staff

Photo of Derek NolanDerek Nolan (Galway West, Labour)
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411. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her views on recognising grant paid school secretaries as public servants; if she will change their terms and conditions to reflect this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47324/14]

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick City, Labour)
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The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools in the Free Education Scheme now receive capitation grant assistance to provide for secretarial services. Within the capitation grant schemes, it is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs and the Department does not stipulate how secretarial services are to be obtained. Where a school uses the grant funding to employ a secretary, such staff are employees of individual schools. The Department therefore does not have any role in determining the pay and conditions under which they are engaged. These are matters to be agreed between the staff concerned and the school authorities.

Notwithstanding the above, a forum was established under the Towards 2016 Agreement involving the Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, IMPACT and SIPTU to examine the factual position in schools regarding the terms and conditions of employment of secretaries (and caretakers) employed using grant funding. However, it was not possible to progress the forum's agenda beyond the initial fact finding survey, due to the State's budgetary and financial position.

Secretaries employed by schools using grant funding are not regarded as public servants except for the purposes of the pay reduction under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No.2) Act 2009, due to the definition of "public servant" used in that Act. The fact that such staff come within the definition of "public servant" solely for the purposes of the Act does not alter their employment status in any other respect.


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