I wrote to you recently
about implementation of the strike settlement, with the HSE beginning the process of issuing new contracts and allowing staff nurses and midwives to access the new enhanced salary scale.
We have made further progress with the employers, who are now beginning to roll out the increased and expanded allowances.
The new circular, issued by the HSE, instructs payroll departments to make changes:
- A 20% increase in the location allowance – going up by €372 to €2,230 a year
- A 20% increase in the qualification allowance – going up by €559 to €3,350 a year
- Extension of allowances to maternity services – a minimum extra €2,230 a year
- New location allowance for Public Health Nurses not receiving a qualification allowance – worth €2,230 a year
All of this will be backdated to the 1st of March. This would mean, for example, that a staff midwife will receive at least €2,230 extra a year, plus backpay of allowance worth over €1,100 (depending on the exact date of payment).
Allowances are not just for staff nurses and midwives – they also apply to eligible PHNs and CNM/CMM 1s and 2s.
The new circular also paves the way for staff nurses and midwives to reach the “senior staff nurse” level after 17 years, not the current 20. This will be applied, as is currently the case, from November.
For a staff nurse with 17 years’ experience, for example, this would mean a pay increase worth €2,197, plus an additional €1,573 if they join the enhanced scale, plus a 1.75% increase from the 1st of September. The combined effect would put a staff nurse/midwife with 17 years’ experience (or more) on over €50,000 a year – plus any allowances and premium pay they might get.
The outstanding issue in this circular is around the location allowance for medical and surgical wards. The HSE require more time to count the exact number of nurses and midwives who will get an increase.
HSE management say they need eight further weeks to do this count, but we are working to reduce this time, so that members are issued with their allowances promptly. We are also in ongoing discussions with the HSE over their plan to implement this allowance change, over which some disagreement remains.
These allowances will, however, be backdated to 1st March 2019, so members will not lose out financially as a result of this delay.
We will continue to vigorously pursue full implementation of the settlement secured by your strike action and will keep you updated as matters progress.
Phil Ní Sheaghdha