Date Uploaded: 22/02/2016
Traditionally, fourth year student nurses were paid for the final 36 weeks of their training spent in a clinical setting.
However, in December 2010, the then government decided to phase out payment for the clinical placement, and to abolish incremental credit for it.
In 2011 it was decided to maintain the students' pay at 50% of the first point of the staff nurses scale - meaning they were earning an average of €6.86 - less than the national minimum wage.
In 2013 this was increased to 55% of the first point of the staff nurse scale, reflecting the trainee rates in the minimum wage legislation, and the introduction of the longer 39-hour-week under the Haddington Road Agreement.
Many observers believe the pay cut contributed to the surge in qualifying nurses moving abroad and to the difficulty in recruiting nurses to work in Ireland, which has in-turn contributed to understaffing and overcrowding in hospitals.
From 1 March, around 1,400 fourth year student nurses will receive €9.48 per hour - equivalent to 70% of the first point of the staff nurses incremental pay scale.
Upon graduation, they will move to the second point of the staff nurse scale (€29,497) after 16 weeks - which represents an increase of over €2,000.
The compulsory 36-week hospital training placement will also be recognised officially as time served for the incremental scale.
There will be a further review on the issue of backdating incremental credit to the graduate classes of 2011-2015 who lost out due to the cuts.
The restoration deal was negotiated as part of a confidential side deal to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said the restoration moved some way towards correcting what he described as a serious wrong done to young nurses and midwives in recent years.
"The INMO will continue to pursue the outstanding issue of granting incremental credit to recent graduates," he said.
"We believe that this is necessary in our continuing effort to recruit, and retain, young graduate nurses/midwives to our health service which remains severely understaffed."
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said it was a reflection of the improving economic circumstances that the government was in a position to improve pay.
They stated that there are now around 900 more nurses on the health service payroll compared to last year.
The cost of implementing the student nurses' pay increase in 2016 is approximately €3.5 million.
In a full year it will be about €4.8 million.