The Haddington Road Agreement Increment Freeze: An Overview
The Haddington Road Agreement, also known as the Public Service Agreement (PSA) 2013-2016, was a deal between the Irish government and public sector unions to cut the state payroll bill by €1bn ($1.18bn) over three years. One of the elements of this agreement was an increment freeze for public servants. In this article, we will take a closer look at what the Haddington Road Agreement incremental freeze is all about and how it has impacted public servants in Ireland.
What is an increment freeze?
Firstly, it`s essential to understand what an increment is. An increment is an increase in salary that a public servant would expect to receive each year based on the length of their service. Typically, each public servant would receive an increment once a year, with the amount of that increment varying based on their grade and the amount of time served. The Haddington Road Agreement increment freeze put a halt to this practice.
The agreement froze increments for public servants earning over €65,000 ($76,773) per annum for three years, which meant that they did not receive a pay increase for the duration of the agreement. However, public servants earning less than €65,000 could progress up the salary scale as usual.
How has the increment freeze impacted public servants?
The impact of the Haddington Road Agreement increment freeze varied depending on the public servants` salaries and grades. Those earning over €65,000 per year were the most affected by the freeze as they did not receive an increment for three years, resulting in a decrease in real income when accounting for inflation. Public servants earning less than €65,000 per year were not directly impacted by the freeze and could continue to progress up the salary scales.
The freeze was not only unpopular amongst public servants who were affected but also faced criticisms from other quarters. For instance, critics argued that the freeze created a two-tier system for public servants based on pay, which could lead to morale issues and low motivation among public servants.
The Haddington Road Agreement increment freeze was a significant decision that impacted thousands of public servants in Ireland. While it was designed to reduce the state payroll bill, it resulted in a decrease in real income for those public servants earning over €65,000 per year. Meanwhile, those earning less than €65,000 were not directly impacted by the freeze. The agreement was not without controversy, with some critics arguing that it created a two-tier system for public servants based on pay. Despite this, the agreement remained in place until its expiration in 2018.