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Agency workers will receive €2.5 million of retrospective pay from the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) because of the Temporary Agency Work Act, which brings the European Agency Work Directive into force and ensures equal treatment of temporary staff.
Payment is backdated to 5 December 2011 and the Irish Independent reports that hundreds of agency workers, including nurses and health care assistants, who had received lower salaries than permanent employees, are to be paid their outstanding pay.
The HSE said it can take up to three months for these payments to be processed due to the complexity of the tasks involved while the higher pay rates for agency workers are expected to cost the organisation an extra €30 million a year.
A spokesperson told the paper that recruitment agencies will pay the workers directly but “ultimately will bill the HSE for the amount”.
“It is very difficult to estimate the number of staff due payments, as a large percentage of agency workers would work on a part-time or temporary basis,” she said.
The HSE hires around 1,400 temporary agency workers a week and the paper claims that pay rise for agency workers will “wipe out much of the savings made by the HSE when it renegotiated contracts with recruitment agencies, which was estimated to save around €45 million a year.”