The Labour Court, on the 26th June 2012, recommended the setting up of a panel for special needs assistants.
The recommendation is as follows:
It is noted that Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) are not encompassed by the employment security commitment contained in the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014. Consequently, they cannot claim the same right to redeployment available to other Public Servants.
There is, however, a sustainable case for affording SNAs a greater degree of security in employment than presently exists. The Court believes that the fairest and most practical way of achieving this objective is to put in place an arrangement whereby SNAs whose role is displaced by redundancy can be facilitated in filling similar alternative posts that may become available. The Court, therefore, recommends that the following arrangements be put in place: –
(1) Where an SNA’s role becomes redundant they should be placed on a panel.
(2) Where a vacancy arises or where a new post is created it should first be offered to those on the panel in order of seniority, subject to suitability.
(3) Those on the panel should not have entitlement to remuneration beyond the existing arrangements and, subject to (4) and (5) below they should not become entitled to redundancy payments.
(4) As an alternative to being placed on the panel an SNA who is displaced could opt for a redundancy payment in line with the current arrangement.
(5) Likewise a SNA who remains on the panel for a full school year without being placed in employment should have the option of claiming a redundancy payment in line with the present arrangement.
(6) A SNA who accepts a redundancy payment under either (4) or (5) above shall have no further entitlement to placement from the panel.
(7) Where a SNA is placed in alternative employment under this arrangement they should carry forward their prior service.
It is worth noting that this is only a recommendation. (However, see circular 0037/2013)
The position of the DES appears to be that it will facilitate negotiations about an SNA panel between unions and boards of management bodies.