EQUITY IN TEACHERS’ PAY: Will new entrants ever catch up?

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Key Point:

New entrants into second level teaching have experienced substantial changes to their payments, with the introduction of a 10% reduction in their starting salary in 2010 and the creation of a new pay scale for teachers commencing their employment post 2011. The abolition of qualification allowances has placed new entrants at a further disadvantage compared to their established colleagues who retain their allowances. A new entrant before 2011 could earn a total salary of €43,000 (on the 2019 scale), which includes the qualification allowance for a H.DIip in Ed./ Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) (Hons) and Primary (Hons) degree amounting to over €6,000. In contrast, a new entrant in 2019 earns a total salary of €37,000. The difference in salaries is far greater when comparing the cumulative earnings of teachers on the ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 2011 scales. For someone with 5 years of service on the pre 2011 scale, their cumulative earnings amount to almost €229,000: representing a difference of €27,000 or 13% compared to a teacher with 5 years of service on the post 2011 scale at €201,000. After 12 years of service the difference in cumulative earnings increases to almost €60,000 or 10%. The relative gap in lifetime earnings narrows as a teacher progresses in their career: with the difference in cumulative earnings for a teacher after 25 years of service amounting to almost €95,000 or 7%.

Policy Context: Teachers pay and working conditions

During the Great Recession (2008-12), pay cuts and working conditions were altered for all workers across the Irish Public Service. For new entrants into the teaching profession after 2011, the public sector reforms introduced during the economic crisis meant a 10% reduction in salary, the creation of a new pay scale and significant changes to allowance and pension entitlements. The abolition of qualification allowances placed new entrants at a disadvantage compared to their established colleagues who remained on a separate pay scale and retained their allowances. Furthermore, the introduction of a new Single Pension Scheme in 2013, has led to a significant deterioration in pension entitlements for teachers appointed since that time. Under this new scheme the pension a teacher receives on retirement is calculated based on average earnings over their career and not their final salary prior to retirement. According to a Report published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2018, among the 24,000 estimated new entrants into the educational workforce since 2011, over 16,000 were school teachers (Primary and Post-Primary) and affected by two-tier issues surrounding pay and allowances[1]. However, the removal of points 4 and 8 on the common basic pay scale, negotiated under the Public Service Stability Agreement in 2019, has enabled new entrants to progress up the scale faster. It has also reduced the gap in life-time earnings between established and new teachers commencing their careers since 2011.

New Entrants and Established Teachers Pay, 2008-2019   

Table 1 compares the basic salaries of teachers who entered the profession before and after 2011. On the 2019 scale, a newly qualified teacher entering before 2011 would earn a salary of €36,985 and a teacher with five years of service earns €42,059. After 12 years an established teacher would earn €54,584, while a teacher with 25 years of service earns €64,302 in 2019.

With the exception of new entrant teachers, the salary scale for teachers commencing their employment is higher compared to their established colleagues who entered before 2011. In 2019, a new entrant earns €36,953 and a teacher after 5 years of service earns €43,431. After 12 years of service, a teacher who entered in 2019 could earn €56,417 and a more established teacher could earn €69,407 after 25 years of service[2]

Table 1: Teachers Basic Salaries, 2019

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2019) *Note: Entrant teachers before 2011 commenced on Point 3 of the scale to reflect number of years in higher education. New entrants after 2011 now commence on Point 1 of the scale.

Teachers Allowances, 2019

Table 2 shows the changes to the qualification allowance systems for teachers progressing in their careers in 2019. Teachers who entered and obtained an educational qualification before 2011 are entitled to a qualification allowance[3]. In this context, teachers who hold both a H.Dip in Ed./PGDE (Hons) and Primary (Hons) degree could receive a qualification allowance amounting to over €6,000. This means that the total salary for a new entrant before 2011 could amount to over €43,000, while a teacher after 5 years could receive a total salary amounting to over €48,000. For established teachers, the total salary for a teacher after 12 years of service could amount to almost €61,000 and over €70,000 for someone with 25 years of service. 

With the exception of the post of responsibility and long service allowance, teachers entering after 2011 are no longer entitled to a qualification allowance and ‘other’ allowances. Therefore, the total salary of a new entrant in 2019 amounts to almost €37,000, compared to someone entering before 2011 who could earn a salary of over €43,000 (inclusive of qualification allowances). This represents a difference of €6,000 or 15% in the total salary of a new entrant in 2019. The difference in the total salary for a teacher after 5 years of service amounts to almost €5,000 (10%); while for those after 12 years of service, their discrepancy is over €4,000 (7%). After 25 years of service a teacher could earn a total salary amounting to over €69,000 on the post 2011 scale. This represents a small difference in total salary amounting to over €1,000 (2%), when compared to someone on the pre-2011 scale who can earn over €70,000.

Teachers also receive additional allowances for taking up ‘posts of responsibility’ in their respective schools, such posts include: Assistant; Deputy; and Full Principal’s[4]. Based on a school with 36-40 teachers, a Principal could receive an allowance of €36,030 and a Deputy Principal could receive €23,137 per annum. Therefore, a school principal who commenced their teaching employment before 2011 and has 25 years of service could earn a total salary of over €106,000 – inclusive of qualification allowances. A deputy principal with 12 years of service and a qualification allowance could earn a total salary amounting to almost €84,000 per annum. However, for someone who entered after 2011 their total salary is less due to these teachers not being entitled to a qualification allowance. In this context, a principal on the post 2011 scale could receive a total salary amounting to over €105,000 and a deputy principal could receive a total salary amounting to over €79,500 per annum. All teachers who have 35 years of service are entitled to an additional long service allowance of €2,324.

 Table 2: Total salary earnings of new entrants and established Teachers, 2019

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2019).

Cumulative salary earnings of Teachers, 2019

Table 3 shows the difference in total salary earnings of teachers who entered before and after 2011.

Table 3: Cumulative earnings of teachers on the ‘pre’ and ‘post’ 2011 scale, 2019

Note: For teachers who entered before 2011 the cumulative earnings include qualification allowances – H.Dip in Ed. / PGDE (Hons) and Primary Degree (Hons).

For new entrants before 2011, their total earnings amount to over €43,000. This means that an entrant before 2011 earns over €6,000 or 15% more than entrant in 2019 at almost €37,000. For someone with 5 years of service on the Pre 2011 scale, their total cumulative earnings amount to almost €229,000. This represents a difference of over €27,500 or 13% when compared to a teacher entering in 2019 with cumulative earnings amounting to €201,000. After 12 years of service the difference in cumulative earnings increases to almost €60,000 or 10%. However, the relative gap in lifetime earnings narrows as a teacher progresses in their career. After 25 years of service, a teacher who commenced in 2019 has cumulative earnings amounting to almost €1.4 million, compared to a teacher who commenced before 2011 who has cumulative earnings amounting to almost €1.5m: representing a difference of almost €95,000 or 7% in the cumulative earnings between these established teachers[5].


References

Department of Education and Skills (2019) Circular 0041/2019 Revision of Teacher Salaries with effect from 1 September 2019 [Online] Available at: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0041_2019.pdf

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (2018) Examination of Remaining Salary Scale Issues in Respect of Post January 2011 Recruits at Entry Grades. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/4035/071218124404-860d0916d18542c1baa10ffa7dc482d5.pdf#page=1

Department of Education and Skills (2013) Circular 0008/2013 Budget 2012 – Public Service-Wide Review of Allowances and Premium Payments [Online] Available at: https://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0008_2013.pdf

Department of Education and Skills (2010) Circular 0004/2010 Revision of Teachers Salaries with effect from 1 January 2010 [online] Available at: https://www.education.ie/en/Education-Staff/Information/Payroll-Financial-Information/Salary-Scales/Rates-applicable-to-personnel-appointed-before-1-January-2011-Circular-0004-2010-.pdf


[1] Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (2019)

[2] See Appendix 1 for more information on the Teachers Pay Scale, 2019.

[3] See Appendix 2 for a list of qualification and Posts of Responsibility allowances and rules for eligibility. Note: Allowances are payable in respect of qualifications obtained on or before 4 December 2011. No allowances are payable to teachers who acquire a further qualification after this time (Department of Education and Skills, 2013).

[4] See Appendix 2 for a list of qualification and Posts of Responsibility allowances and rules for eligibility.

[5] Note: Following ASTI industrial action in 2016-17, the government imposed an incremental pay freeze on ASTI members. The government lifted these measures when the industrial action was ended. However, the original dates for the payment were not restored, which has left union members with ongoing losses.


Appendix One: Teachers Pay Scale from 1st September 2019

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2019).

Appendix Two: Qualification and Post of Responsibility Allowances

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2019). Note: Either of the allowances (a) or (b) may be held together with any one of the allowances (c) to (g).

Teachers who commenced their employment between 1/1/11 and 31/1/12 may be in receipt of additional academic allowances above that of Honours Primary Degree allowance level (€4,918), if they held the appropriate qualification prior to the abolishment of allowances for all new beneficiaries. (For more information on this cohort and rates paid see: Department of Education and Skills, 2013, 2019.)

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2010).

Source: Department of Education and Skills (2010).

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