The Public Service Pay Commission report on the pay of 300,000 government employees is to be published tomorrow after it has been considered by the Cabinet.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe will bring the report to Cabinet in the morning, and publication is expected in the afternoon.
The commission, chaired by former Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy, was established to compare pay rates in the public and private sectors, with its terms of reference permitting consideration of international comparators.
Its findings will inform the negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement on public sector pay, which are due to get under way shortly, and possibly as early as next Monday.
However, the Government has repeatedly stressed that unlike previous benchmarking reports on the pay of government employees, the PSPC report will not make recommendations for pay rises, and will not replace direct negotiations between the Government and public service unions.
The report is expected to examine the differential between pay in the public and private sectors.
However, the most contentious area is likely to be the value which the PSPC places on public service pensions, which are viewed as more generous than those in the private sector.
Public service unions have already warned that they will resist any moves to reduce pension benefits, particularly by linking their pensions to inflation rather than the pay rates in the grade from which they retire.
Meanwhile, the report may recommend that the pension levy imposed on public servants during the crisis should be converted to a larger pension contribution for higher earners.
The unions' priority will be to secure a timetable for the restoration of pay cuts imposed during the economic crisis.
However, the Government side will be keen to dampen expectations and to moderate pay restoration to avoid endangering the financial recovery.
The PSPC was also authorised to look at the best way of rolling back the financial emergency legislation known as FEMPI which enabled the cuts in pay and conditions imposed on public servants during the economic crisis.
Observers will also be watching for comments on the controversy surrounding lower pay for recent recruits as well as other issues relevant to individual sectors, such as the difficulty in recruiting nurses.
When it was set up, the PSPC was tasked with advising the Government on public pay policy.
Its brief was to carry out an objective analysis of appropriate pay rates for groups within the public sector, including a comparison with prevailing private sector rates.
It was also mandated to compare pay rates for public sector groups with equivalents in other jurisdictions, "particularly where internationally traded skill sets are required, having due regard to differences in living costs".
In addition, it was also authorised to analyse appropriate levels for officeholders' pay and pensions.
That analysis was to have regard to evidence on recruitment and retention trends, pension and other benefits, security of tenure, the public service reform agenda, and any other relevant matters including the impact on national competitiveness, sustainable national finances and equity considerations.