Council staff should report for work 

UPDATE Monday 16th March 2020 @ 19:30hrs

Fórsa has again advised local authority workers to attend work as usual unless alternative arrangements have been agreed with their line managers. The advice comes as some local councils have announced that some premises will be closed to public from this evening.

The senior union official in the area, Peter Nolan, said there was no uniform approach among the countries local authorities.

“Councils are moving to evaluate their requirements in relation to critical and non-critical services and, where possible, to provide the opportunity to work remotely. For now staff should turn up for work unless they have been told not to, or have another good reason to be absent,” he said.

Yesterday, the union issued this advice on attendance at work.

Last Thursday, Fórsa sought clarification from local authority management following the announcement that nation’s cultural institutions were to close as part of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 public health crisis.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which represents local authority management, said line managers would give consideration to applications for special leave, but said there was an onus on councils to provide essential services.

In related news, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) issued new guidance on civil and public service working arrangements today (Monday).

The guidance calls on managers and employees to be flexible in circumstances where staff have to mind children on foot of school or crèche closures. In this regard, it recommends measures like home working, flexible shifts, or longer opening hours.

It advises staff who experience coronavirus-related childcare difficulties to stay in regular contact with their managers.

“Employees should work from home where possible. Employers need to implement alternative working arrangements to support employees to attend work. For example, this could include flexible shifts and longer opening hours, to support the provision of services while supporting social distancing measures,” it says.

The guidance says staff redeployment across the civil and public services could be required to ensure the maintenance of essential services, and also calls for the reassignment of staff within organisations to prioritise the most critical services.

This is an updated version of advice first published on this website on Friday 13th March at 09:21hrs