Northern Ireland

Low earning education staff get £250 extra payment

School cleaners, cooks and low paid clerical staff are to get a windfall of hundreds of pounds.

The payments are being funded by the Department of Education after education bodies ran out of money.

The £250 payments were first made two years ago to 14,000 workers earning less than £21,000 a year.

Employers had intended to pay the supplement again last year but could not afford it, so now Stormont has stepped in.

Two thousand low paid staff in grammar and grant maintained integrated schools who did not get the original payment will also receive the payment from the department - they will get a double payment.

The education department said the majority of eligible staff have already received the first year's money but no-one has yet received the second payment.

They include Education and Library Board headquarters clerical staff, school domestic assistants, playground assistants and catering staff, who were badly hit by a freeze on pay rises.

Education Minister John O'Dowd said the payments reflected the decision across the public sector to provide additional payments to low paid staff at a time when a pay freeze was effective.

"I will do all within my powers to ensure that the £250 payments are made without unnecessary delay and staff receive the payments they are entitled to," he said.

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