Civil servants could work from home up to March 2022

Department of Public Expenditure planning a ‘consistent approach’ to blended work

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

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Many civil servants will continue to work from home for the rest of this year, and up to March next year, under a plan being discussed by the Government.

While the pandemic is not yet over, it is “timely to consider what the future of the workplace looks like”, said Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath.

The Minister said the department was committed “to implementing models of working for the future that can provide flexibility to both employees and their employers”.

The Covid-19 pandemic had brought about “a sudden and seismic change in working arrangements for everyone”, and despite the challenges, civil servants had adapted swiftly to working remotely, he said.

Total doses distributed to Ireland Total doses administered in Ireland
10,093,390 8,193,802

Now his department is developing a framework document that will offer “a consistent approach” for so-called blended working arrangements across the civil service”, he said.

Blended policies

Individual departments and offices will finalise and roll out their long-term blended working policies and implementation plans from September 2021 to March 2022, he said.

During this period, a “gradual return to the office” may commence, to be decided on by each individual organisation having regard to their operational requirements.

The pace of this transition “will continue to be dependent on public health advice and the trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr McGrath declared.

Fórsa, the largest public service union, welcomed the department’s declaration, saying it is ready to “engage” with civil service management to agree details.

However, the union’s general secretary, Kevin Callinan, warned that the plan should be rolled out across the entire public service, not just the civil service alone.

He added that the union had “waited a long time” and said immediate discussions were now needed to agree details and “build on the momentum of the past 18 months”.

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