Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

Michael Ring

Question:

289 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if her Department proposes to implement shorter working days to facilitate personnel with family; and if this work practice is being introduced in her Department. [15054/02]

My Department has been to the forefront in implementing a wide range of family friendly/work life balance arrangements which enable staff to combine work with their personal commitments and choices. For instance, this summer, some 310 of the Department's staff are availing of term time leave, which is designed to allow parents to match their working arrangements to their children's summer holidays. This scheme was piloted by my Department in 1998 and is now available to all grades.

More recently, the Civil Service worksharing scheme provides for a wider range of work attendance patterns than had been available previously under the jobsharing scheme. Some 650 employees are currently availing of worksharing on half attendance basis and a further 130 are availing of a four-day week attendance. In so far as shorter working days are concerned, flexitime is available to a significant proportion of employees. This gives flexibility to staff to vary their starting and finishing times and to build up extra hours which may be taken later as leave. In addition, staff have the option of working on a mornings or afternoons only basis under the worksharing scheme. Commencing in September next, my Department intends to make available further worksharing options, such as three days per week, three weeks at work out of four and a daily attendance regime of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.