Thursday, 19 May 2022
Department of Education and Skills
274. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if arrangements will be in place in summer 2022 for school secretaries and caretakers to be paid and that the practice of requiring these important workers to sign on for social welfare has been discontinued following agreement reached on this issue earlier in 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25451/22]
School secretaries are valued members of our school communities and my Department is fully aware of the vitally important role played by them in the running of our schools.
On the 24thFebruary, following a series of engagements at the WRC, a package to settle a claim on terms and conditions for grant-funded school secretaries was proposed, which Fórsa agreed to recommend to its members. A ballot was undertaken and the result was 95% agreement in favour of the deal. I was very pleased to hear of this overwhelmingly positive result on what has been a long running issue, the resolution of which has been a priority for me since my appointment.
The work to implement this agreement has now commenced in conjunction with Fórsa; it requires a complex process of assimilating information to capture accurate data in respect of each individual secretary, and the application of this data to ensure that each individual secretary is correctly assigned to the new agreed terms and conditions, if they so choose. As part of the initial assimilation, secretaries will also be provided with an opportunity to confirm whether they wish to move to the new terms and conditions or whether they wish to retain their current terms and conditions, as the benefits of either option will be determined by their individual circumstances.
Additional resources are to be put in place to provide capacity to manage this process, ensuring both individual and school data is captured and correctly applied. This will also require the development of an IT system to collect the data and action the payroll obligations.
As this work is currently ongoing, it is therefore not possible to commit to an exact timeline but the Department has expedited the process and will communicate further as the work progresses.