Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants


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AHCPS update on PMDS, sick leave, and monthly salary proposals

(11 Jul 2012)

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The Public Service Agreement (Croke Park) requires further reform of the Civil Service Performance Management and Development System (PMDS).

A General Council sub-committee on PMDS has met on a number of occasions to discuss a draft management document under the consultation process. The document addresses the competency framework, ratings (fairness and consistency), the rating scale, the role of reviewers and supports.

It is anticipated that the PAS competencies will be adopted as the competency framework. But management’s proposals to introduce a ‘forced distribution of ratings’ system, where a fixed percentage of staff would fit into each of the ratings categories, has emerged as a major issue for Unions. The AHCPS are absolutely opposed to forced distribution. The Association has indicated that it will not proceed unless it’s changed.

All other aspects are under negotiation, including a redefinition of the rating system and the link to increments, calibrated systems of performance measurement, the need for an external reviewer and random audit to ensure fairness and consistency. The sub-committee will meet again on 16th July.

Sick Leave
The Government’s Public Service Reform Plan contained a provision to review central sick leave policies in the civil and public service “with a view to improving performance and reducing absences”. The timescale envisaged the review commencing in Q1-2012 and legislation is expected in Q3-2012.

Informal and formal discussions took place between Public Service management and the Public Services Committee of the ICTU including a number of conciliation Conferences in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC). The Management Side tabled a formal set of proposals which were finalised following an LRC hearing on 12th June 2012. The Union side indicated that it was opposed to the changes set out in the Management side proposals but agreed to remain in the negotiation process in order to protect the essential features of a humane sick leave regime.

Following the LRC discussions a number of specific items were subject to disagreement and have been referred to the Labour Court under Section 26 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990 for consideration under clause 1.24 of the Public Service Agreement 2010-14.

These items are as follows:
• The Management proposals for self-certified sick leave (the Official Side are proposing 3 days per year – the Staff Side have proposed 10 days over 2 years).
• The Management proposals for critical illness arrangements – specifically their proposals for 6 months on full pay followed by 3 months on half pay and the proposal for this to be limited to a single instance in a working career in the public service.
• The Management proposals for transitional arrangements.
• The Management proposals for rehabilitation pay where this would amount to less than social welfare entitlements for certain staff employed before 1995.

Proposal to move to monthly salary cycle

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) have proposed that all civil service staff move to a monthly salary cycle.

There was unanimous opposition to this from all of the Staff Side Unions. A sub-committee of General Council was set up to consider the issue.

This sub-committee met on the 21st of June. The Official presented proposals as follows:
• All staff move to monthly pay from March 2013: Previously the Official Side had indicated that the first phase would begin in August 2012. It is now proposed that the first monthly salary payment for weekly and fortnightly paid staff will be on the 31st of March 2013 payable on the last working day, Friday the 29th of March, 2013. Subsequent payments would be made on the last Friday of every month following that. To ease the transition it is proposed to offer staff a fixed net advance of €900 of future salary payments to those who wish to avail of it. This advance would be made in the last salary payment in February 2013 and recouped in full at €100 per month, commencing in April 2013;
• Estimated savings of €1m per annum with further potential savings if other sectors follow suit;
• Efficiency gains in the management of payroll systems by significantly reducing the number of payments, payroll runs and pay groups;
• The move to standardise and streamline payment systems is seen as a key building block that will support the eventual move to a shared payroll service for the Civil Service sector.
A further meeting will be held to discuss the matter shortly. However it seems likely that if the Official Side continues with their proposals that the matter will be referred to third party arbitration under the terms of the Croke Park Agreement.


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Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants