Working time window opens
Civil servants who want to revert to ‘pre-Haddington Road’ working hours – with a pro-rata salary reduction – can apply to do so between now and April 2018. The opportunity, which was negotiated by Fórsa as part of the Public Services Stability Agreement (PSSA), will then close before briefly reopening between January and April 2021.
Staff who opt to revert to the shorter working week have to do so permanently. And applications are subject to the ‘business needs’ of the organisation they work in.
Fórsa says staff who have already opted for a shorter working year during 2018 can also apply for the ‘pre-Haddington Road’ hours. This is a departure from normal procedures that prevent civil servants on shorter working time from changing their work-sharing pattern.
During last year’s talks on the PSSA, the union sought a return to pre-2011 hours for all. But the employers were adamant that they would not do a deal that restored working time lost under previous agreements. Fórsa officials repeatedly raised the issue, but the other side would not budge.
The current provisions fall short of that ambition, but they at least give options to staff whose circumstances mean time is more important to them than money.