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Tax increases for the people as 18 out of 19 Government departments see a rise in staff pay costs

18 out of 19 Government Departments will see increases in salaries, wages and allowances for their staff in 2021. The increases are in addition to the hundreds of thousands of euros allocated to each Department’s staff in the Travel and Subsistence category.

This follows confirmation that the Government’s National Economic Recovery Plan announced today includes the targeting of 100,000 people for significant local property tax liabilities, as well as the phased elimination of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment by February of next year.

Details of the departmental pay related cost increases are laid out in The Revised Estimates Volume for the Public Service (also called ‘the REV’) which are prepared each year by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

These provide additional substantial detail on funding allocations that are initially announced in each year’s Budget.

The Revised Estimates also summarise the spending levels that are predicted to take place throughout the current year.

The Government Department with the greatest percentage increase in the level of pay related costs is Minister Roderick O’Gorman’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

In 2020 this Department received €24 million to cover Salaries, Wages and Allowances for staff. In 2021 that will jump to €32 million. An increase in pay related costs of 33%.

The Department with the next highest percentage level increase in pay costs is Minister Simon Harris’s Further and Higher Education. That Department will see pay costs increase by 28% to €12.3million, up from €9.7 million in 2020.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Department of Health is next on the list of percentage increases with Salaries, Wages and Allowances jumping from €36 million in 2020 to €44.8 million this year. This amounts to a 24% increase.

It should be noted that these costs are separate to HSE related pay costs in divisions such as Primary Care and Health and Social Care Services which amount to almost €7 billion in total.

Green Party Minister Catherine Martin will see her Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media pay costs jump by 15% to €21.5 million. Up from €18.8 million in 2020.

The only Department not to see an increase is the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment. This Department will in fact see its pay related costs drop by 3% from 2020 levels, to €32.3 million.

The increase in costs may be due in part to the recently agreed Public Service Pay Agreement which saw 340,000 State employees agree to a deal costing an estimated €906 million spread over 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The agreement provides for a 1 per cent pay rise for state employees in October 2021.

However, this will do nothing to diminish the perception that those in the public sector have emerged relatively financially unscathed compared to the majority of private sector workers and the self- employed.

According to the Revised Estimates for 2021 the following Departments will also see Salaries, Wages and Allowances increases from 2020 levels:

  • Department of Transport  Up 6% to €35.6million
  • Department of Social Protection  Up 5% to €315 million
  • Department of Rural and Community Development  Up 10% to €10.million
  • Department of the Taoiseach Up 7% to €18.1million
  • Department of Finance Up 2% to €21million
  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Up 3% to €25million
  • Department of Justice  Up 4% to €67million
    Department of Education Up 9% to €64million
  • Department of Foreign Affairs Up 8% to €114 million
  • Department of the Environment Climate Change and Communications Up 10% to €31million.
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Up 11% to €214 million
  • Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment Down 3% to €32million.
  • Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage Up 10% to €83 million
  • Department of Defence Up 8% to €22million



Eric Murphy



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