The HSE has reiterated that vacancies in the health service arising from maternity leave are to be filled in the first instance by the redeployment of staff or the reallocation of work.
The Executive has revealed that it has 2,305 employees currently on maternity leave — approximately 2 per cent of its entire labour force.
Responding to a parliamentary query from Labour’s Kathleen Lynch TD, HSE National Director of Human Resources Seán McGrath said the Executive had a policy of prioritising the filling of frontline posts to enable the delivery of services to patients and clients. “In line with the current moratorium on recruitment in the public services, vacancies arising through maternity leave are likely to be filled by redeployment and/or reorganisation/reallocation of work in the first instance,” he stated.
He added that it was not possible to anticipate the number of people expected to take maternity leave in 2009.
According to HSE HR Circular 015/2009, issued on May 15, Area Employment Monitoring Groups must ensure that increases in employment, due to employees who have a legislative entitlement to return from maternity leave doing so, are either ‘offset by the termination of the fixed term/specified purpose contract of employment put in place to cover for such leave or alternatively by suppression of other live vacancies’.
The moratorium on recruitment does not apply to a number of grades, including medical consultants, speech therapists, physiotherapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors, social workers and emergency medical technicians.