Non-critical clerical, administrative, professional and library staff may be temporarily redeployed to deal with an increased demand in other parts of the public service during the coronavirus crisis. This could include staff in institutes of technology, TU Dublin, Mary Immaculate College and education and training boards.
New arrangements for a public service-wide mobilisation to tackle the Covid-19 virus and maintain essential public services, were outlined by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) last week. They allow for the temporary transfer of staff to critical roles for up to three months.
The education department will ask employers in the sector to identify staff not deemed essential at this time. They will be asked to complete a questionnaire by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) detailing their work experience, qualifications and skills. The PAS may then match staff to other areas on a temporary basis.
Fórsa’s head of education Andy Pike said, “Additional workers are needed for clerical posts in social protection and back-office positions in the HSE. People may also be asked to assist with Covid-19 contact tracing.”
The DPER measures confirmed that HSE-recommended social distancing will be observed in work settings, and that transferred staff will receive necessary training and upskilling. Transferred staff may be able to continue to work from their present location, and there is also be potential for remote working where this is practical.
Staff who take on temporary roles will continue to be employed, and paid by, their existing employer. And they will return to their existing employer and role once the temporary transfer is over.
Throughout the crisis, Fórsa has strongly urged members to volunteer for temporary critical assignments if they are able to do so – and to co-operate with requirements arising from such redeployments.
Andy assured members that they will be able to work remotely wherever possible. “Staff who are self-isolating or on sick leave will not be affected, nor will those with underlying health conditions. People with childcare or other caring commitments may also be asked to work from home,” he said.
A DES circular on temporary reassignment covering all grades is expected by the end of the week.