Written Answers. - Job Sharing.

Bernard Allen

Question:

155 Mr. Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the plans, if any, she has to introduce legislation on job sharing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2010/99]

While it is generally accepted that worksharing offers a number of advantages for society and the economy through job creation, greater workplace flexibility and more equitable distribution of work, I do not have any immediate plans to introduce legislation on this specific issue.

In January 1997 a package of measures, intended to facilitate greater worksharing in the public service, was announced. The practical application of these measures is a matter to be discussed and worked out with the appropriate trade unions for each of the various public service organisations. As regards the Civil Service, discussions are at present taking place between the Department of Finance and the Civil Service unions on the implementation of these measures which will build on the schemes already in place.

Worksharing in the private sector is first and foremost a matter for that sector. The models developed in the public service provide an example of what can be achieved and I would urge the social partners to renew their efforts to conclude a framework agreement on this issue.

On the wider issue of atypical work, the Deputy may be aware that the EU Council has adopted a Directive concerning a Framework Agreement on Part-time Work which must be implemented in all member states by January, 2000. The purpose of the directive is to prevent part-time workers from being treated less favourably than full-time workers, to provide for the removal of discrimination against part-time workers and to improve the quality of part-time work.