Belfast Telegraph

Dozens of Central Bank staff paid sweeteners to agree longer notice period

Dozens of Central Bank staffers have been paid almost half a million euro in sweeteners to agree a longer notice period in the event of them resigning.

Figures in the latest annual report show that 28 employees were given the lucrative incentive - over and above their existing salaries - last year.

At a cost to the taxpayer of 450,000 euro, it works out at an average 16,000 euro payment to each worker who was handed the windfall.

A further three staff benefited from the so-called Retention of Target Employees Interim Policy in 2015, at a cost of almost 40,000 euro.

In return for the money, staff selected for the payments have to agree to extend their normal period of notice from three months to six months.

Despite a low staff turnover rate, bosses at the Central Bank brought in the financial incentive three years ago.

They argued the bank was "vulnerable to loss of key employees on strategically vital matters".

So it drew up a list of so-called "critical roles" within the bank where staff would be offered special payments in return for agreeing a six-month period notice over the course of particular projects.

"This policy was developed in response to the Bank's risk of losing key employees who are in certain strategic roles critical to strategically significant projects with regard to the functions of the bank," the annual report states.

"The 28 payments were to staff who were identified in 2015 as Target Employees, as defined within the policy.

"No further staff have been included in the policy since 2015 and no further payments are due."

Other special payments to staff at the banking and financial sector watchdog include an allowance for carrying out on-site inspections in the offices of banks and financial services companies.

The so-called Single Supervisory Mechanism On-Site Allowance Policy was approved almost two years ago.

Payments last year under the scheme exceeded 180,000 euro to 47 staff - an average of almost 4,000 euro each.

The annual report says the bank provided mortgages to staff at "preferential interest rates" up until 2008.

By the end of last year, one "key management person" had an outstanding mortgage balance of 4,728 euro, which was taxed under Revenue guidelines.

The bank also operates a holiday loan scheme for all staff.

Advances totalling 33,250 euro were made to one of the Central Bank's commissioners and seven senior managers last year.

By the end of the year "all advances under this scheme have been fully repaid", it said.

The report also confirmed Central Bank governor Philip Lane was paid a salary of 254,048 euro last year.

His deputy, Cyril Roux, who is leaving the bank for a job in the private sector, was paid 310,000 euro.

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