Anger after all civil servants given ‘performance’ bonuses

 

THE Government is under fire after revelations that every staff member in the public service got performance-related payments of up to €6,000 because fellow civil servants ignored guidelines.

Consultants had designed the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) in 2004 with a five-point scale to rate staff, with ‘one’ being the worst and ‘five’ the best.

The designers, Mercer Consultants, had estimated that 20pc of staff should fall into the ‘one’ and ‘two’ categories, but it is now claimed that just 1.6pc of staff, or 300 individuals, received the lower grades in 2007.

The Government would only say last night that “extensive training” was provided to civil servants and that they all understood how the controversial performance-related payment system was meant to operate.

But Fine Gael‘s Leo Varadkar said: “There’s something wrong with an organisation if it shows that everyone is always doing a good job.”

The Department of Finance was remaining tightlipped on the matter last night and could not confirm whether a review of the system would be taking place.

But a spokesman insisted: “When the Performance Management and Development system was introduced, both staff and management were given extensive training on how it would operate.”

Guidelines say that the ratings specified by Mercer are “not binding”, but “illustrate a broad pattern that could be expected at organisational level”.

The 18 employees who received the ‘one’ grade got no pay rise, while the 285 who earned a ‘two’ rank received an increase but were denied a promotion, according to the figures.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that public sector increases that Taoiseach Brian Cowennegotiated under the social partnership deal will cost the taxpayer over €1bn.

Information secured by Mr Varadkar shows that a combination of the increments, a 2.5pc increase this year and a 3.5pc rise in 2009, will cost at least €1bn — despite an 11-month pay freeze.

Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent yesterday that his party was currently looking at alternatives to PMDS. He revealed that the broad principle of their proposed system would involve “local managers having more autonomy” than under the current scheme.

Meanwhile, the exchequer is also losing hundreds of millions of euro due to absenteeism in the public sector.

Health Service Executive staff are taking almost twice as many sick days as the national average, while primary and secondary school teachers take almost 240,000 sick days a year.

Absenteeism

The latest audit in the HSE shows that absenteeism is at 6.2pc, costing the executive around €150m a year.

Porters, caterers, carpenters, care assistants and other support staff were the biggest culprits, with 8pc of their working hours lost to sick leave.

Drivers, nurses aids, health promotion officers and community welfare officers were out of work for 7pc of the working year.

In education, an average €60m a year is being spent on substitute teachers due to absenteeism among permanent staff.

(source: Stephen O’Farrell – http://www.independent.ie/national-news/anger-after-all-civil-servants-given-performance-bonuses-1518422.html)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

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