Fórsa supports temporary changes to work practices in social welfare offices in an effort to process record numbers of claims while improving social distancing. These temporary changes will help maintain the recommended social distance of two metres.
The union also urged those seeking benefits to avoid visiting Intreo offices by applying online, which it said was the quickest and safest way to claim.
The new arrangements will facilitate a ‘split week’ arrangement, or a two-shift roster working arrangement.
The split week would see staff working three 12-hour shifts in a six-day, Monday to Saturday working week. One shift will work Monday, Tuesday, Saturday. The other will work, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The shift pattern will alternate every two weeks
The roster-working arrangement would entail two shifts a day, from 7.00am to 2.00pm, and from 2.30pm to 9.30 pm.
The new arrangements will facilitate a ‘split week’ arrangement or, a two-shift roster working arrangement.
Work-sharers will work the patterns on a pro-rata basis. The new temporary agreement will also see:
- Flexitime temporarily suspended
- All staff required to clock in and clock out of shifts – but not for breaks or lunch
- Normal overtime rates for Saturday working
- Adequate breaks put in place
The rostering options will be considered and implemented by managers at a local level.
All staff are asked to maintain the recommended social distance of 2 meters apart throughout the day while at work.
Local managers will be responsible for the implementation of these working arrangements.
Fórsa, through discussions with the Department have secured these measures for staff, which will support social and physical distancing in the workplace.
Fórsa official Paul MacSweeney said “Social welfare staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with an unprecedented surge in demand, and to ensure that people can access supports safely and with dignity at this awful time.
Social welfare staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with an unprecedented surge in demand, and to ensure that people can access supports safely and with dignity at this awful time.
“We fully support the revised shift arrangements and other working practices to improve social distancing and process claims quickly during the crisis. But I continue to urge people to apply for supports online as this is the quickest and safest way to access our enhanced services.”