The Public Service Pay Commission is expected to complete its report on the remuneration of Government employees within days, and possibly as early as tomorrow.
Some sources suggested that that the report may go to Cabinet on Wednesday for Government approval, after which talks on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement would get underway in the week commencing the 15 May.
However, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would only say they were expecting the PSPC report "shortly" and said she was not expecting it to go to Cabinet this Wednesday.
It is understood that staff at the Workplace Relations Commission are on stand-by to commence facilitation of pay talks from mid-May.
Earlier today, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Executive Council met Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe to discuss issues including public service pay, pensions, and low pay, Brexit, housing and social dialogue.
ICTU General Secretary Patricia King said trade unions were ready to play their part in fashioning a clear, coherent and fair response to the problems currently facing Irish society.
It is understood that Mr Donohoe stressed the importance of a "collective approach" to resolving wider social and economic problems.
Informed sources have said the Government and public service unions want to get the talks on a successor to the LRA completed by early June so that balloting on the agreement can get underway immediately.
This is a particular priority for the education sector, because of teachers' summer holidays.
It is hoped the projected timeframe will allow the 35,000 strong Irish National Teachers Organisation before schools close, though the smaller ASTI and Teachers Union of Ireland may not be able to ballot until schools reopen in September.
The ICTU Public Services Committee is to meet on Tuesday to discuss the pay issue.
There have been reports that following the upcoming pay talks, public servants could be in line for a general pay rise of 6% - 2% per year over three years as part of a new collective pay agreement.
However, unions argue that for most grades, such rises would still constitute restoration of cuts imposed during the crisis.
There could also be scope for further rises linked to productivity, to address specific recruitment and retention difficulties or to tackle the lower pay of recent recruits.
The PSPC, which was chaired by former Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy, was set up to advise 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 for groups with equivalents in other jurisdictions, "particularly where internationally traded skillsets are required, having due regard to differences in living costs."
The PSPC was also authorised to analyse appropriate pay levels for officeholders' pay and pensions.
Its analysis was also 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
It is expected to address public service pensions, which currently cost around €3.3 billion per year.
State pensions are viewed as far superior to those in the private sector, which have deteriorated in recent years.
On the public service pension levy imposed during the crisis, which brings in €720 million per year, some sources suggest the PSPC could recommend permanent retention of the levy for higher earners as a higher contribution to fund their pensions - though no threshold has yet been negotiated.
The PSPC is also expected to comment on ways of rolling back the Financial Emergency in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation which enabled pay cuts and other measures during the recession.
The Government has repeatedly stressed that the PSPC role is advisory only, and will not replace negotiations between the government and public service unions on pay.