The pay improvements will reportedly take two forms: phased pay increases, and changes to pension contributions

The Government deal with public service unions will cost a reported €880 million over the next three years or €1.1 billion over four years.

Under the terms of what is still a draft deal, 90% of public servants - those earning below €70,000 - will be out of the financial emergency FEMPI legislation. FEMPI cut pay during the recession.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 government employees stand to gain from pay restoration and changes to pension contribution arrangements.

The two phase deal starts with phased pay increases starting on 1 January 2018, and second from a three tier approach to funding pensions,  based on the level of benefits enjoyed by the individual.

People recruited before 2013 will see pay improvements ranging from 6.2% to 7.4% over the next three years.

For 50,000 hired after 2013 with inferior pensions, the gains will be between 7 and 10%.

However, 23,000 workers, including gardaí who can retire early on full pensions, will benefit least.

Each union must now consider the proposals, prior to putting them out to ballot.