Wednesday 13 November 2019

Please give us a break -- on 42 days off in a year

SENIOR officials of city and county councils enjoy annual holidays of up to 42 days. The average for senior management in the private sector is 25 days. But there is a more striking anomaly within the local government system itself. At the lower end of the pecking order, annual leave may consist of only 20 days.

Can anyone lay his hand on his heart and say that the manager of a small county has a harder row to hoe than the manager of a substantial business, or a skilled worker in either the public or the private sector?

Clearly we are looking at another case -- one of many -- of unwarranted privilege.

And as so often in such instances, it is far from easy to get accurate and comprehensive information. This newspaper asked each of the State's 34 local authorities to outline their staffs' annual leave entitlements. Only 15 replied.

The Department of the Environment says that it will not release the data it holds on the subject. The Local Government Management Services Board also holds records and will not release them -- although it is trying to standardise entitlements.

This week the IMF is carrying out another assessment: of the savings we must make under the terms of the EU-IMF bailout. It may have something to say about long holidays.

But how much better to conduct our own affairs properly -- and voluntarily abolish practices that have somehow gone awry.

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