'Privilege' days finally face the chop
THE Department of Finance is moving to cut the two privilege days which all civil servants receive each year.
However, lower-paid civil servants with fewer than 24 days' holidays will be allowed to convert the two privilege days into two additional annual leave days. The Irish Independent has learnt that the issue is now going to arbitration as the department tries to abolish the long-standing practice.
As higher-paid civil servants have more annual leave, they will lose both days. But those on lower grades will be allowed to keep one or both days. These days will be converted to annual leave days so they have additional holidays and don't lose pay. Staff in the civil service have traditionally had additional privilege days off during Christmas and Easter.
Higher civil servants, who have more than 30 days of annual leave, will lose both those days while staff with between 25 and 29 days of annual leave will lose one of the privilege days and will gain a day of annual leave.
Lower-paid civil servants with fewer than 24 days will be permitted to keep taking the two days, but as annual leave.
Earlier this month a decision was made to abolish the traditional time off given to staff to cash their pay cheques.
Staff recruited to the Civil Service before 2003 have 30 minutes off each week -- or fortnight depending on how frequently they are paid -- to cash their cheques even though in the vast majority of cases they are paid by electronic fund transfer.
This time will be abolished from January 1, a month later than the deadline set under the Croke Park deal.
It is understood lower grades were particularly unhappy with the decision as they usually "saved" the half hour to take a half-day at the end of the month.
The Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), which represents lower-paid civil servants, said they are happy at the "fairness" of the changes.