Government employees will work less hours under the new recommendation

Public servants may be scheduled to work reduced hours from July this year following the recommendation of an independent advisory body.

rsa said a recommendation by the body would mean a return to the standard work week for state employees who existed prior to the additional unpaid hours in July 2013.

The Public Service Association stated that there would be a minimum work week of 35 hours.

Additional hours were imposed with effect from 1 July 2013 and the standard working week of government employees was increased to 39 hours for those working between 35 and 37 hours.

The work week for those who had a 35-hour week or less increased to 37 hours.

The hours for those working 39 hours or more a week remained the same.

The Department of Public Expenditure previously estimated that the cost of removing the hours would be €645 million a year, which equates to 10,000 additional full-time workers.

It claimed that the additional hours brought the average weekly hours worked in line with the private sector.

It is understood that Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath was made aware of the recommendation last Friday and FORSA and INMO met today to discuss it.

FORSA welcomed the recommendation of the independent body, chaired by Kieran Mulvey, which was set up under the Building Momentum Public Service Agreement.

It said the recommendation meant that working hours would return to “pre-penance levels” from July 1, 2022.

Forsa said additional working hours were offered to thousands of mostly female public servants as an alternative to the third pay cut under the Haddington Road Agreement.

“If the government accepts Mr. Mulvey’s recommendation, it would open up the last element of the HRA’s austerity measures,” Forsa said in a statement.

The union noted that temporary pay cuts for more senior civil servants have been reinstated under the same deal in recent years.

The salary restoration for the top earners will be implemented from this July.

Forsa Secretary General Kevin Collinan said the recommendation would remove a long-standing and weak drain on morale and productivity in the civil and public service.

“The extra hours offered under the HRA fell hardest on women with care responsibilities, and they have been increasingly hostile in terms of service delivery, ethics and productivity. The recommendation allows the government to do away with the last austerity-era measure of HRA and, with it, a deep grievance among many – mostly low-wage – public servants.

“Acceptance of the recommendation by the government will also raise the prospect of continued sustainability in public service delivery and quality, removing a major obstacle to successful negotiation of a public service agreement to replace Building Momentum, at least when it is due to expire later this year. Not doing it,” she said.

He said he was confident that a return to pre-penance arrangements could be achieved without exorbitant cost or damage to the quality or output of public service.

“These workers have shown their skills during the pandemic. In any case, the technical and work-practice environment in which public services are provided has changed beyond recognition since unpaid work hours were introduced nearly nine years ago, on the grounds that pay cuts were the only option.

“It is never correct to assume that increased working hours equated to increased productivity. In fact, civil services departments temporarily reduced the working day from 7.24 to seven hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. , largely to facilitate social distancing, and productivity was at an all-time high during that period,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s general secretary, Phil née Shegdha, said the recommendation would help retain nurses and midwives.

“The extra hours have adversely affected our largely female workforce,” she said.

She said she had pushed nurses and midwives into part-time work because of the extra pressure that was placed on caregiving responsibilities.

“Today’s recommendation is an important step in addressing this key issue under the Building Momentum Agreement. INMO members voted to accept the agreement and its full implementation is now set for a new public meeting beginning later this year.” The service agreement will pave the way for negotiations.”

He added that the union is confident that a return to pre-Haddington Road hours can be achieved at no additional additional cost or damage to production.

INMO’s president, Karen McGowan, said nurses and midwives will be watching the government’s recommendations closely.

“Nurses and midwives have gone above and beyond since 2013 when extra working time was introduced,” she said. “Their dedication and goodwill has often held our public health system together in very difficult times, especially in the last two years.

“As high earners in public service are due to receive wage reinstatement in July 2022, it is only right that the additional hours worked by nurses and midwives be restored to pre-2013 levels.”