26 September 2023

IRELAND: Government to end longer working hours

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The Irish Government has accepted an independent report on restoring Public Service working times to pre-austerity levels.

The Independent Hours Body, established under the current Building Momentum Public Service agreement, recommended the unwinding of additional working hours imposed on public sector workers under the 2013 Haddington Road Agreement.

The Body said the additional hours should be restored to Government employees with effect from 1 July, with the exception of hospital consultants and academic grades.

It also did not see any basis to adjust the current arrangements for primary and post-primary teachers.

The additional working hours saw the standard working time of Public Servants increased to 39 hours per week for those who previously worked between 37 and 39 hours, and to 37 hours for those who previously worked 35 hours or less.

The recommendation of the independent body is to result in a return to the pre-July 2013 hours with a minimum working week of 35 hours.

Fórsa, the largest public sector trade union, welcomed the Government’s acceptance of the recommendations, General Secretary, Kevin Callinan said it would remove a deep grievance among many, mostly lower-paid, workers.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation also welcomed the decision, a spokesperson said it would benefit the retention of nurses and midwives.

“The additional hours have pushed many nurses and midwives into part-time work due to the additional pressure that was put on caring responsibilities,” the spokesperson said.

“We know that since 2013 the additional unpaid hours have had a considerable negative impact on morale and the retention of nurses and midwives within the public health service.”

Dublin, 16 April 2022

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