Civil servants will keep two 'privilege' leave days
Published 03/12/2010 | 05:00
LOWER-paid civil servants are to keep their two 'privilege' leave days in return for giving up 30 minutes a week to cash their pay cheques.
Controversial privilege days -- which are being reviewed under the public sector reform deal -- are extra days given after bank holidays.
It is understood clerical officers will be offered extra annual leave, on top of their regular 20 days a year, in return for the removal of this 'bank time'.
It means they will effectively keep their privilege days.
The compromise -- drawn up by the Department of Finance and unions -- will be discussed at a meeting today.
The talks are being held after the department failed to meet a deadline to abolish the 'bank time' by the end of last month.
The details of the deal come after the IMF warned that pay will be cut unless major progress is made on public sector reforms within nine months.
The Civil, Public and Services Union has argued that the abolition of bank time would affect its members more than higher grades who enjoy between 27 and 31 days off a year, so they should retain the privilege days.
Last night, general secretary Blair Horan, said he was confident he would be able to tell his executive at a meeting on December 14 that they would "lose one but not the other".
He said his union's understanding at the time the Croke Park deal was struck was that it would hold on to either bank time or privilege days -- but would not lose both.
But sources last night said mid-ranking grades and higher ranking grades -- represented by the Public Service Executive Union and the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants -- may fight the department's proposals because they could lose one or both of their privilege days. Clerical officers get half an hour a week off and higher grades get half an hour a fortnight to cash pay cheques, even though most of them are paid by electronic transfer.
However, higher grades get more annual leave than the clerical officers, who get the basic EU minimum.
Today's meeting comes just days after civil service managers failed to meet a deadline they set to abolish the "outdated" bank time practice.
The entitlement was discontinued for new entrants to the public service in 2003, but staff taken on before this date still receive it.
Ending the practice was one of a number of reforms managers outlined in their action plan for the Croke Park deal.
In the civil service and non-commercial state agencies' action plan, it says the timeframe for eliminating bank time was "from November 2010".