10th September 2012

(Last updated 10th September 2012)

What are the changes to local authority working hours?

From March 2013, certain local authority grades will work a minimum 34-hour full-time working week. This follows a binding Labour Court ruling (published today) which curtailed management proposals for an immediate move to a minimum 35-hour week. The changes affect slightly more than half the workers in the grades concerned. The others will see no change to their working time.

What grades are covered by the changes?

Clerical, administrative, engineering, technical and related grades.

How will it affect me?

This will not affect you if you currently work 34 hours a week or more.

If you work fewer than 34 hours a week, your working time will increase to 34 hours a week from next March. For the affected IMPACT members, this means an increase of between 15 and 65 minutes a week – or between three and 13 minutes a day – depending on the hours you currently work.

There will be local discussions between IMPACT and management on the practical application of the additional working time.

Which local authorities currently work fewer than 34 hours?

These are the councils where staff in affected grades currently work fewer than 34 hours a week (Note, the list does not include urban district councils): Cavan, Clare, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin City, Fingal, Galway City, Galway County, Limerick County, Meath, South  Dublin, and Waterford City.

What if I job-share or work part-time?

Jobsharers and part-time staff in authorities where full-time staff currently work less than 34 hours a week will see their hours increased pro-rata. There will be local discussions between IMPACT and management on the practical application of the additional working time.

How will this affect my flexitime?

The Labour Court recommendation does not change entitlements to flexitime. Any impact on local flexitime arrangements will be the subject of local negotiations between IMPACT and local management.

What if I’m promoted?

If you are promoted into any of the affected grades you will immediately work a 35-hour week. Newly recruited staff will also work a 35-hour week from now on.

What about newly recruited staff?

Any new staff appointed to the affected grades will work a 35-hour week from now on. Existing staff who are promoted into any of the affected grades will also immediately work a 35-hour week.

When do the changes come into force?

The increase to a 34-hour week for existing staff takes effect from 1st March 2013. The changes for new recruits and staff promoted into the affected grades take immediate effect.

Why is this happening now?

The changes are happening because the Labour Court has issued its binding recommendation on management proposals for a 35-hour week. These changes will see a total of over 3,000 extra hours worked each week across 11 local authorities. Along with the introduction of a 35-hour week for staff newly appointed or promoted to the grades concerned, this represents a significant productivity improvement, which is one of the objectives of the Croke Park agreement that also protects staff from further pay cuts or compulsory redundancies.

Did IMPACT agree the changes?

No. The changes come on foot of a Labour Court recommendation, which is binding on both parties under the Croke Park agreement. Last year, management wanted to impose a 35-hour week across all local authorities. Management claimed that a 35-hour week could be imposed under general efficiency clauses in the agreement, even though it contained no specific provision to increase working hours for these grades. Under Croke Park, disagreements of this kind have to be processed through the Labour Relations Commission and Labour Court, which can make binding recommendations if the parties cannot agree.

IMPACT strongly disputed management’s arguments. The union acknowledged that there was a Croke Park commitment to standardise working hours across local authorities over time, but argued that the agreement did not envisage the imposition of increased working hours for existing staff. The union also highlighted huge productivity increases and payroll savings delivered by local authority workers in recent years.

Can I appeal the changes?

No. The Labour Court’s recommendation is the final word under Croke Park. However, there will be local negotiations on how any additional working time is applied locally.

Read the full Labour Court recommendation HERE.