THE HEALTH SERVICE Executive rehired three of its former staff last year – just one day after they retired.
Records obtained by the Medical Independent newspaper show that of 120 former HSE staff who were rehired by the agency last year, seven had already availed either of early retirement or voluntary redundancy schemes.
In three cases – including a senior area medical officer and a nurse – the employee returned to work the day after leaving. The nurse in question still works for the HSE.
The health service has seen several rounds of voluntary redundancies, as authorities try to lower employee numbers in an attempt to cut the annual pay bill which this year stands at €6.25 billion.
The HSE also saw significant numbers leave work in the first quarter of last year, when an incentivised public service pension scheme lapsed. Employees who retired before last February 29 had their pension entitlements calculated based on their peak salaries and not their final, post-cut levels.
Of the 120 former staff rehired by the HSE last year, 81 still work there – despite having received either pension lump sums or severance pay when they first left.
Pay rules in the public sector mean, however, that any employee’s combined pay and pension cannot be larger than the pay grade they would have been entitled to before their retirement.