Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley has raised the issue of pay restoration for employees in health and social care sector who are employed by community and voluntary organisations in the Seanad.
Senator Dooley raised the issue in the context of Clarecare, the professional social enterprise with charitable status providing a range of services to individuals and families in County Clare for the past 50 years. It has a workforce of approximately 420.
Senator Dooley commented, “Clarecare provides family support services, elderly care services, counselling and addiction therapy in a residential facility. It has a wonderful ethos and staff who are truly amazing. They provide an enormous service to citizens across the county. They are highly treasured and really professional. They do an enormously good job.
“Until 2014, the HSE provided all the funding to Clarecare, particularly for funding towards family support services as well as the elderly care services under what is known as a section 39 agreement. In April 2010 during the economic crash, the HSE reduced funding to Clarecare and other organisations for salaries to the tune of 4%. That had to be passed on by Clarecare to all staff. When Tusla was established in 2014 the funding of the family support services provided to Clarecare was transferred from the HSE to Tusla and since then that funding has been provided to the Clarecare under what is known as a section 56 service level agreement.”
Senator Dooley noted how in January of this year, the HSE began pay restoration to those contracted under a section 39 agreement. However, as the Senator understands it, no such restoration has been promised or provided to those under a section 56 agreement.
Senator Dooley added, “In practical terms, we have a team of workers who are contracted by the State through Clarecare to provide health and social care services in County Clare. A pay cut was enforced on all of them in 2010. Pay restoration was recommenced in January of this year but only some of the workers qualify. That begs the obvious question: why?
“They have been told if the HSE is providing the funding they will get their pay restoration but for those who were funded by the HSE when the pay cuts were introduced in 2010 and since 2014 have been funded by Tusla, it is tough luck, they do not get restoration. That does not seem fair to me and it certainly is not seen as fair by the workers on the ground.
“It is blatant discrimination for a group of people who were treated in a fair and equitable way up to a certain point to now discover because their funding was transferred to a different Department they do not qualify for pay restoration of pay in terms of the pay cut they took in unison with everybody else at the time. They need action now.”