The paybacks will be made on a pro-rata basis: the sooner former staff return to the the same part of the public sector - such as local government, health or education - the more they’ll have to pay back.
There is currently no public-sector wide legislation on redundancy payments, and practices vary. The civil service has its own statutory scheme under which arrangements are slightly less stringent than the proposed new legislation: civil service-wide statutory rules – applied to all staff regardless of salary – allow cash to be clawed back only if officials return to work inside six months.
However, a Treasury spokesman told CSW that they expect the civil service-wide scheme to "get in line with" the new public sector-wide rules.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, said the civil service scheme can only be adjusted if the law is changed, and questioned the application of the new rules only to high earners. “We can’t see any reason or justification for why a set of terms around claw-backs should apply to people earning a certain amount of money, but not to others,” he told CSW. “What is the logic behind this? It should be the same for everyone."
He also said that this change would not affect many civil servants, as the number of people earning over £100,000 who get re-employed in the civil service after six months is "only handfuls of people". The Treasury is, however, consulting on rules that would apply clawbacks to those earning less than £100,000. It intends to taper clawback payments so that someone formerly earning, say, £90,000 will repay a higher proportion of their redundancy payment than someone who used to earn £80,000. A Treasury spokesman said the consultation will consider the best way to deliver this, and should start in the coming weeks.
This article has been amended to correct inaccuracies in the original version. Our apologies.