Local authority staff still enjoy 35-hour week as reform stalls
MORE than half of local authority staff are working 35 hours or less a week after a crucial deadline was missed to increase their time in the office.
The Irish Independent has learned that more than 15,000 clerical, administrative, engineering and technical staff enjoy contracted working weeks that are four hours or more below the private sector average.
Half of the staff -- or more than 7,000 -- are on an average working week of 33 hours and 45 minutes, or under seven hours a day.
A plan to standardise the working week is one of the key reforms put forward by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government under the Croke Park deal.
But it was confirmed last night that management's deadline to bring in a standard 35-hour week was not met last month because the reform is being assessed by the body overseeing the Croke Park deal following union opposition.
This means other major reforms -- including plans to redeploy workers into other jobs in understaffed areas of the public sector -- have been put on hold.
A uniform working week and annual leave set-up for similar grades would make it much easier to move state employees into new roles.
The Local Government Management Services Board, which assists the authorities in staff negotiations, said management put forward the proposals to ensure all 15,000 indoor staff worked 35 hours.
"We have not yet received any response from the Implementation Body in relation to management's proposals on the standardisation of the working week in local authorities," said a spokesperson.
"The issue of standardisation of the working week was included in the action plan submitted to the body last September and had an implementation date of April 2011.
"Therefore, the deadline for implementation has passed."
It said staff working outdoors were on 39-hour weeks -- which is the public sector average.
They will not be affected by the plans, but indoor staff's hours would rise by an average one hour and 15 minutes a week if the proposals are brought in.