Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (118)

Pa Daly

Ceist:

118. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on working time agreements across the Civil Service. [26342/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Government Departments and Offices have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated public health requirements by introducing new measures of flexibility in working arrangements.

Civil Service Departments and Offices have been advised by my Department, as standard practice across the public service during COVID-19, to consider all forms of flexible working including:

- working from home where possible

- working adjusted hours and providing for alternative arrangements where possible, including flexible shifts, staggered hours, wider opening hours including weekend work, both for those working from home and when workplace attendance is required

These arrangements enable Departments and Offices to, for example:

- support civil servants to balance work and caring responsibilities during the restrictions

- support public health measures such as maintaining social distance when workplace attendance is required

- ensure the continuity of essential services

Due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on normal working arrangements, the operation of traditional flexi-time and attendance management rules do not support the flexible arrangements and agility required during this extraordinary situation. These arrangements were temporarily suspended in April 2020 to facilitate the required new ways of working across the public service.

As more public servants have returned to their workplaces over recent months, flexi-time arrangements were re-introduced, with effect from 24 August 2020, for those employees who are attending work on their pre-COVID arrangements.

In order to ensure that there is good communication about changes to working arrangements in the civil service, my Department has developed Guidance and FAQs on working arrangements and temporary assignments during COVID-19 for civil and public service employers . This Guidance and FAQs document has been continually updated to reflect public health and Government policy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the Guidance and FAQs, my Department developed guidance for Civil Service organisations on Working from Home during COVID-19 Guidance for Civil Service Organisations.

For both sets of guidance, and their associated issues, my officials have consulted with civil service employers and union representatives.