AHCPS Christmas E-zine December 2019
18th December 2019
AHCPS Christmas E-zine December 2019
Dear Branch Secretary
Below is an update on current issues. Please circulate to all members.
Public Service Pay & Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020: The next restoration to pay scales is 2% on 1st October 2020. The Association has prepared an information sheet for members that can be accessed here. The remaining FEMPI-related deduction, that is due to be restored by 1st July 2021 at the latest, is also shown.
Details in relation to Government policy on increases to Public Service pensions up to 2020 can be accessed through circular 2/2018 here.
2020 Blue Power/Pink Power Campaign
Th Association via Cornmarket will run a health awareness campaign in Q1 of 2020 for all Income Continuance members while encouraging new members to join. Currently 2,045 out of 3,300 are in the scheme [62%]. Some members will recall that a similar campaign was run in 2015 with 7 members diagnosed with cancer as a result of the programme.
The 2020 Q1 campaign will be run in association with “Full Health Medical”, who offer nationwide clinics, online appointment and risk assessment form and examination at clinic. Specialist treatment at Beaumont private Clinic, Bon Secours (Dublin, Galway & Cork) under health insurance or public health system.
Our Income Continuance cover provides for a 75% level of pay and is underwritten by New Ireland Insurance at a cost of 0.57% of gross salary before tax relief. The Association successfully negotiated the inclusion of cover to retirement at age 66/67/68 for members recruited since 1st January 2013. The new IC Scheme continues to cover Pre & Post ‘95 members to 65.
Flexible Working Hours (FWH)
The Association recently circulated the ruling of the Arbitration Board that was not favourable for our members. It can be accessed here. The Board was not agreeable to the accrual of flexi leave for Assistant Principal Officers appointed since the Haddington Road Agreement in May 2013.
It is the opinion of the Executive Committee that a multi-pronged approach is merited, to ensure equity of treatment for APs. This will include embedding the issue in the forthcoming National Pay Talks and seeking legal advice. In addition, the Association will liaise with FÓRSA for a survey of HEOs on the non-availability of the accrual of flexi leave being a barrier to promotion as is constantly being referenced and reported but not accepted by DPER.
The next Seminar will take place on 26th of February 2020 and will be entitled ‘Women in Leadership in a New Decade’. This follows on the very successful ‘Women in Leadership’ seminar in February 2018 that launched our cycle of member seminars.
During 2018 the Association held 3 Seminars as part of the member engagement programme to mark the 75th Anniversary; ‘Women in Leadership’ attracted 180 members, 150 attended ‘Brexit – a Civil Service Perspective & 100 members attended the ‘Workplace of the Future’ seminar.
From March to May 2019 over 550 members attended our five ‘Progressing to PO Seminars’ one of which was held in Limerick. 120 members attended both our ‘Well Being Seminar’ in May and ‘Thinking of TLAC’ in October. Our Autumn Seminar ‘Enhancing Leadership’ had 170 in attendance.
In all, throughout 2018 & 2019 circa 1,400 members attended our Seminars with very positive feedback around all the events.
The AHCPS YouTube Channel has attracted circa 1,000 views in relation to the seminar videos we have posted on-line. Links can be accessed via our website at https://www.ahcps.ie/AHCPS_YouTube_video/Default.1027.html These will be an integral part of the membership area in the new website going forward.
Retirement Courses: Separately, the Association facilitated over 100 members at 4 retirement courses during 2019. We intend to run further courses next year to meet demand already registered. Notifications will issue in due course through Branch Secretaries concerning bookings for these events and consideration is being given for the inclusion of a provincial location.
Consultative Council: was held on 3rd December 2019 in AHCPS HQ with a good attendance of branch officers from across our branches. Some of the items covered in this e-zine were discussed at the event.
Plans for the new website are advancing to include a new user-friendly members area and the facility for on-line member applications. This will be operational in 2020.
2019 Open PO Competition
The Association made representations to DPER concerning difficulties experienced by members in the recent on-line testing part of the Open PO Competition. We highlighted the factors that proved to be impediments to serving officers wishing to participate. Firewalls in many departments prevented downloading of the necessary software. Few PCs had webcam/mic facilities. In addition, there was a curtailed availability schedule. Even if the technical difficulties proved to be surmountable, applicants would have needed to be fortunate enough to be able to avail of a lunchtime slot or were required to take leave to sit the tests.
We asked DPER to interact with PAS to see if alternative, less restrictive arrangements might be possible. Unfortunately, we were not consulted in advance about the nature of this phase of the competition. The Association believes that there is a real need to see some developments around this issue of IT facilitation and support so that members see that their voice and concerns are being addressed. The feedback we received from members centred on the difficulty with getting a quiet space to complete the test where the IT difficulties were overcome.
The Association continues to emphasise that members are supportive of efficiencies and using modern technologies as much as possible, but all candidates should get a fair chance including the opportunity to complete stages outside working hours if candidates have better private facilities.
Service Wide Mobility Scheme
The Association is in active discussions with DPER concerning the extension of the Scheme to Assistant Principal Officers. We receive regular enquiries from members as to when the AP grade will be included in the Scheme. While we will soon be in a position to sign off on the policy around the inclusion of APs [and in time the move of PO Mobility to an on-line application process] delays are envisaged with the necessary software changes to facilitate the extension of the Scheme to APs. This will not be before Q3 and more likely Q4 of 2020. The AO & HEO will be included from approximately June 2020.
This will be on Friday the 22nd of May 2020 in the Radisson Golden Lane Hotel.
Members are reminded of the Association’s twitter account @ahcps Please follow and retweet etc.
Reminder from Revenue – Register for ‘My Account’
Under PAYE Modernisation, employees will no longer receive a Form P60 from their employer.Employees may access their Employment detail summary for 2019 in ‘PAYE services’ on myAccount.
Useful information from Revenue for details of managing your tax here.
Finally, on behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to wish members a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year.
This circular will be placed on the Association’s website www.ahcps.ie.