Overdue payment of PME allowance value welcomed

By piofficer, Thursday, 2nd December 2021 | 0 comments

6th September 2022

For information - Click here for Circular 59/2022

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) have welcomed the overdue publication of the circular letter confirming payment of the value of the Professional Masters in Education (PME) allowance (formerly HDip Allowance) - value currently €1,314 annually - to those teachers appointed since February 2012.  

The two unions had publicly demanded urgent resolution of this issue, criticising the unacceptable delay in payment of this allowance to teachers who are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.   

Teachers who will benefit should note that the payment will be backdated to 1st February 2022 (or date of appointment as a teacher if later).   

In a hugely damaging cutback to the profession, the value of this and other allowances was withdrawn by Government for those appointed on or after 1st February 2012.  Since then, both unions have vigorously campaigned for its reinstatement. This regressive development proved to be the genesis of a teacher recruitment and retention problem that is now at crisis levels in second-level schools.   

Second-level teachers who are members of the TUI and ASTI sacrificed a general 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 under Building Momentum so that the equivalent funding would allow reinstatement of the value of the PME allowance for those teachers appointed since February 2012.   

TUI President Liz Farrell said: “We had vigorously demanded the urgent payment of the value of this allowance, which had been agreed several months ago. Given the cost-of-living crisis, focus must now turn to providing teachers with secure jobs of full hours in order make teaching a viable and sustainable career.”

ASTI President Miriam Duggan said: “It brings equal pay a step closer for this cohort of teachers who have suffered this injustice for almost a decade. It is regrettable that teachers have had to resolve this issue by taking money out of their own pockets.”

Earlier updates:


The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that a severe teacher recruitment and retention problem in schools is being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis. For a number of years, the Union has highlighted the acute negative effect that pay discrimination has had on both the attractiveness of and morale within the profession.   

The Union has called on the Department of Education to immediately confirm reinstatement of the value of the Postgraduate Masters in Education (PME) allowance (formerly HDip Allowance)  - value currently €1,314 - to those teachers appointed after 2012. 

TUI’s second level members sacrificed a general 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 under Building Momentum so that the equivalent funding would allow reinstatement of the value of the allowance for those members appointed after 2012, but over six months on, despite teachers effectively financing it themselves, a circular letter authorising payment has yet to be published by the Department.   

At a time of a severe teacher supply crisis, the delay is a source of great frustration to the TUI. 

Speaking today, TUI President Liz Farrell said:  

“Currently, as the new academic year is upon us, schools are experiencing alarming difficulties hiring teachers across a wide range of subject areas. This is largely driven by pay discrimination, which sees teachers paid at different rates for carrying out the same work. The cost-of-living crisis, particularly in relation to accommodation and transport, is worsening what was already a dire situation, particularly in larger urban areas.   

A survey of over 1,200 of our members earlier this year showed that while just 30% of those employed after 2011 believe at the moment that they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, that percentage changes to 75% should pay discrimination be completely resolved. So clearly, this scandal must be urgently addressed. The delay of this payment is of great frustration to the TUI, as it has been the longstanding position of the Union that all second level members would forgo a 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 to facilitate its reintroduction for those members affected. Yet six months on, we await what should surely be a straightforward payment.   

Essentially, this is cost neutral for Government. The money to resolve this injustice has been donated by teachers themselves but continues to rest in exchequer accounts. It has already been budgeted for. We urge the Department to immediately confirm reinstatement of the allowance’s value ahead of the school year.”  

Teachers need jobs, not hours   

“Once again, ahead of the school year, it is important to highlight that after qualifying, most second level teachers struggle financially for several years on contracts of low hours.   
A survey of our membership earlier this year showed that 65% of teachers appointed after 2011 did not get a contract of full hours upon initial appointment, which means that for several years, they only earn a fraction of a full salary. With the current cost-of-living crisis, this is unsustainable.   

Teachers must be provided with secure jobs of full hours and the remaining elements of pay discrimination must be resolved as a matter of urgency.”  

Previous update on campaign to end pay discrmination: 


TUI remains wholly committed to ending the scandal of pay discrimination, which was unilaterally imposed by Government on those appointed since 1st January 2011 and continues to see teachers and lecturers paid on different pay scales for carrying out the same work.   

Significant progress has already been made in this regard, including the reinstatement of the value of the Honours Primary Degree Allowance to the post-2011 Common Basic scale and the ‘skipping’ of points 4 and 8 across the various ‘new entrant’ scales (and also point 12 for current post-2011 teachers), which allows members to progress up these scales more quickly.   

In October, TUI used the findings of the latest in a series of surveys carried out by the Union’s Principals and Deputy Principals’ Association (PDA) to publicly highlight the significant damage that pay discrimination has inflicted on the education system, particularly in terms of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.   

What grades are still subject to pay discrimination?  

The following grades are still subject to pay discrimination, with separate scales for those appointed before and after 1st January 2011:  

  • Common Basic Scale (i.e. the scale for registered Post Primary teachers)   
  • Assistant Lecturer  
  • Youthreach Resource Person  
  • BTEI Adult Educator  
  • Adult Guidance Counsellor/Co-ordinator  
  • Adult Literacy Organiser and Community Education Facilitator.   

What is the next stage in the campaign against pay discrimination?  
Three pay increases apply over the period of the current Building Momentum Agreement. The first 1% (or €500, whichever was larger) increase was paid on 1st October 2021, and the third 1% (or €500) pay increase will be paid on 1st October 2022.   

The middle of the three pay increases, payable on 1st February 2022, is in financial terms the equivalent of a 1% general pay increase, which the Union could choose to have paid to all members. The Union also has the option of using the equivalent financial value of the increase to address specific, outstanding issues through a sectoral bargaining process. Our position is clear: consistent with TUI policy set by Annual Congress and our commitment to the ongoing campaign, this funding must be used to address the ongoing scandal of pay discrimination across the various grades through the sectoral bargaining process.   

Will the outcome of this sectoral bargaining process completely eliminate pay discrimination?  

The Union will seek to eliminate as much of the remaining pay discrimination as the allocated funding allows.   

There are varying degrees of pay discrimination, depending on the particular grade. For example, at Post Primary level, where pay discrimination is most pronounced, the sectoral bargaining process would allow reinstatement of the PME allowance (currently valued at €1,314) for post-2011 entrants, which would significantly reduce the existing pay differential between those appointed pre- and post-2011. Over the course of a 40-year-career, the value of this re-instatement to the individual would be €52,560. In addition to this, TUI believes that the process may allow the Union to deal with other aspects of pay discrimination, for example by addressing the front loading of pay reductions in the early years of a teaching career and by the restoration of certain allowances which were abolished during the years of austerity.  

In terms of the other grades (Assistant Lecturer, Youthreach Resource Person, BTEI Adult Educator, Adult Guidance Counsellor/Co-ordinator, Adult Literacy Organiser and Community Education Facilitator), the Union will seek to eliminate all or as much as is possible of the remaining pay differentials between the pre- and post-2011 scales.    

The TUI membership can be assured that every possible option will be fully investigated in the process. The final proposal will make use of every cent of the monies available to move forward in restoring equal pay for equal work.   

In some instances, where there is no recruitment grade and no outstanding claim or adjudication, the middle 1% under Building Momentum will be taken as a straightforward pay increase for the relevant members.   

Once again, we reiterate that TUI’s campaign will continue until pay discrimination has been completely eliminated.   

We will update members on further developments as they arise.   

Yours sincerely,   

Martin Marjoram, President, TUI
Michael Gillespie, General Secretary, TUI