Teachers wait for thousands owed in back pay

Hundreds of teachers will have to wait until next month before receiving thousands of euro owed in back pay because of Department of Education problems with its payroll system.

The backlog that has built up since September relates to the hundreds, and possibly thousands, of teachers whose first paid school work came after changes to rates for new entrants last year. They have been left short as much as €50 a day because the department has not yet figured out the correct salary or substitution rates that they should be paid.

Many at second level will have completed a full school year on the wrong rate by the time the payroll system has put them on the correct salary, or on the right hourly or daily rate for substitution and other casual work.

In many cases, teachers who have had regular work are owed over €2,000, though the precise scale of the problem remains unclear.

After meeting with affec-ted teachers in late January, Ruairi Quinn, the education minister, told the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation he expected the problem to be sorted out within a month or two.

However, the department has told the Irish Examiner that the arrears will not be paid until some time in June, with all money owed to be paid in one additional payment. It is understood that second-level teachers are to receive their arrears a week before their primary school counterparts, as the groups are paid fortnightly on alternative weeks.

More than 3,300 new teachers graduated last year, and most will have got some work during the current school year. The Irish Examiner asked the department more than a fortnight ago how many teachers were affected by the pay backlog and how much is owed, but it does not know.

“The IT programmes required to calculate and pay the arrears are currently being developed and it is expected that all the arrears will be paid in June. The details on the numbers due arrears will not be available until the IT development work is closer to completion,” said a spokesperson.

The department says it runs one of the most complex payroll systems in the public service, but the categories of teachers’ pay have been complicated by changes to public service and teachers’ pay.


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