Fórsa is to engage with Department of Social Protection (DSP) management in advance of a proposed return to face-to-face services, following on from the next stage of eased Government restrictions on workplace activity.
The department says it wants to return to pre-Covid customer-facing activities, including in community welfare, Intreo centres (ICs) and control activities.
Fórsa official Paul MacSweeney said around half of DSP staff were working from home on a blended or full-time basis. The rest are working from offices.
“Many of our people continue to provide face-to-face services, as they have throughout the pandemic, mainly through the ICs located across the country,” he said.
Paul explained that, while the further extension of social protection services will not require an immediate return to office working for most staff currently working remotely, the restoration of normal levels of service may require an increased level of on-site attendance.
“Any changes to current arrangements are being discussed directly with relevant staff, and it will be done in compliance with public health measures,” said Paul.
Fórsa also wants an examination of the feasibility of continuing to provide certain services remotely, not least because some customers with underlying medical conditions will want to continue to access services in this way.
“There will also be be high and very high risk staff, or staff living with people in these categories, in control, community welfare and IC roles who may want to continue to provide services remotely, where this can meet business and customer needs,” explained Paul.
“We have also sought the provision of adequate notice to ensure staff can put whatever arrangements, including childcare in place. In addition, the union has sought the reinstatement of flexi in advance of or when normal working hours are restored,” he said.
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