Policy on additional responsibility allowances and honoraria

The Department of Education introduced a policy in March 2011 to provide Arms Length Bodies (ALBs) with advice on the application of public sector pay policy.

Additional responsibility allowances/honoraria

The Department of Education's (DE) policy applies to all non-teaching staff employed by DE’s Arms Length Bodies (ALBs). The policy provides guidance where staff are temporarily undertaking acting-up appointments or additional duties and responsibilities.

An acting up or increased responsibility situation may arise as a result of various circumstances such as long term sickness absence, maternity leave, vacant posts, secondments, career breaks or severance.  

Additional remuneration should only be considered when additional nominated duties and responsibilities are undertaken for a continuous period of at least four weeks, and for a reason other than the annual leave of another member of staff. Temporary job opportunities that are expected to exceed six months should be advertised in accordance with existing recruitment policy and practice.

An acting-up appointment is only appropriate where the full range of duties and responsibilities of an established post are undertaken. Employing authorities may consider granting a responsibility allowance to an officer who performs duties outside the scope of their post over an extended period, or where the additional duties and responsibilities involved are exceptionally onerous. Payment of a responsibility allowance should be made for a defined period subject to the approval of the relevant member of the Senior Management Team/Head of Department within the ALB. Payments will be limited to a maximum allowance equivalent to three additional spinal column points in all cases.  

The award of four incremental spine points or a financial equivalent in excess of 4 points should be classed as an honoraria (one-off ex-gratia) payment. One-off ex-gratia awards require the prior approval of the Department of Education and Department of Finance and Personnel approval before payment is made. Individual officer should not be advised in advance of the necessary approvals that a one-off ex-gratia payment is being considered.


The relevant forms (which are attached as annexes to the policy) should be completed in all cases. The Annex D form which relates to honoraria payments must be signed by relevant personnel in ALBs before being submitted to the Department of Education.

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