Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Health
745. To ask the Minister for Health if a response will issue to matters raised in correspondence (details supplied); if he intends to review the eligibility criteria for section 39 pay restoration to include those funded by way of grant aid agreements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31915/22]
Under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004, the HSE provides financial assistance to organisations to provide services similar or supplementary to a service that the HSE may provide. However, Section 39 organisations, along with paid staff in projects funded under grant aid from the State, are privately owned and run, and staff in these organisations are not public servants. Their terms and conditions of employment, once in line with employment legislation, are strictly between the employer and the employee.
While certain Section 39 organisations received pay restoration, this was applicable to Section 39 organisations who met certain criteria, rather than types of individual workers that are employed in them. Eligible Section 39 organisations included only agencies that had service arrangements in place back in 2013 and that were still under service arrangements in 2019. Only organisations who received in excess of an agreed, specified amount from the HSE by way of the Service Level Agreement process were included.
An agreement was reached at the WRC in October 2018, in relation to a process of pay restoration for staff employed by 50 agencies only. Pay restoration commenced in April 2019. Any outstanding balance was paid in 2020 and 2021. A further WRC engagement followed in December 2020 in relation to a final phase of 250 organisations who were identified as part of the earlier agreement. A payment arrangement consisting of three phases was agreed with the first two payments to be made in 2021, and the third and final payment due to be made in 2023.
Pay restoration is absolutely limited and only applicable to those Section 39 organisations included in the initial WRC agreement. There is no scope to revisit the eligibility criteria for the process and the process has reached a final resolution.