Ministers Foley and McGrath welcome acceptance by Forsa of offer of improved pay and conditions

Published on: 25 March 2022


Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath TD today welcome the overwhelming endorsement by school secretaries who voted in favour of accepting the Department of Education’s offer of improved pay and conditions.

The Department of Education, school management bodies and Fórsa have been engaging on a claim relating to terms and conditions for grant-funded school secretaries under the auspices of the Work Relations Commission.

In recognition of the invaluable work carried out by school secretaries the Department of Education put forward a suite of measures designed to improve the working conditions of school secretaries.

Under the terms of this new agreement school secretaries’ pay rates will move to a scale which is aligned with the Clerical Officer Grade III pay scale on a pro-rata basis according to a secretary’s current working pattern.

These pay increases will be backdated to 1 September 2021 while the terms and conditions also cater for lower-paid but longer serving secretaries to be placed higher up the salary scale.

A new contract will give the option to secretaries that they no longer need to apply to the Department of Social Protection for payment of benefits for periods when they are not working due to school holidays.

Proposals have also been made in relation to issues surrounding annual leave, maternity benefit and sick pay while an allocation of 22 days annual leave (on a pro rata basis according to a secretary’s current working pattern) is also proposed.

Last month Fórsa opted to recommend to its members the enhanced pay agreement and today’s ballot was passed overwhelmingly with 95% of secretaries in favour of the deal.

In welcoming the outcome of the ballot Minister Foley said: “Resolving this issue has been a priority for me since my appointment and today’s ballot result is an overwhelming endorsement by school secretaries of the package offered by the Department. Secretaries are the beating heart of school communities and I am pleased that today’s ballot will provide further recognition of the excellent work carried out by school secretaries on a daily basis.  I would like to acknowledge there has been extensive engagement between my Department, school management bodies and with Minister McGrath and his officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure that we arrived at this point. I would also like to acknowledge the willingness of Fórsa and in particular the school secretary representatives for their constructive engagement in this process.”

 

Minister McGrath stated: “I am pleased that school secretaries have voted in favour of the agreement brokered recently through the WRC process. 

“I have been supportive of seeing a resolution to the issue for some time, particularly due to the vital services being provided by secretaries throughout the country and supporting the day to day activities of schools.

 

“I would like to acknowledge all the constructive work of both my Department and the Department of Education as well as to school management bodies and Fórsa representatives throughout this process, and look forward to now moving to the implementation phase.”

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