Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants

                                   

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Covid 19 - Latest update for members

(18 Mar 2020)

Colleagues

Firstly I hope you are all safe and well.

Our previous update to members contained contact details for the Association over the coming period. Updates to members will continue to be sent but we will be primarily using the website (www.ahcps.ie and twitter @ahcps) to keep members updated. The website will have a dedicated Covid 19 section which will  be updated regularly.

If you have concerns about the virus you are:

The Association continues to advise members to report for work as normal unless:

  • You have been told not to attend work by your manager or HR department
  • Remote working arrangements have been put in place, and you have been told to work at home by your manager or HR department
  • You have a medical reason for not attending work
  • You are self-isolating on medical or HSE advice.

Civil and public servants who are not attending work for approved coronavirus-related reasons – or on medical advice – will receive basic pay including fixed allowances from day one. Coronavirus-related sick leave will not be counted as part of the employee’s sick leave record, so long as they have medical or HSE confirmation of the need to self-isolate. But you must follow the guidelines published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), which are available HERE.

AHCPS is aware that a growing number of public service offices are either closing or offering more limited services than usual. Nevertheless, you should follow AHCPS and DPER advice to ensure that you continue to be paid.

If you have followed AHCPS/DPER advice and still encounter problems with your line manager or HR department, you should contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie or 01 6686077 (this number is diverted to one of the Official’s mobiles).

The HSE has advised pregnant women to take extra care. If you are pregnant and concerned about attending work, you should phone your doctor for medical advice before attending work. Please don’t attend the doctor’s surgery unless specifically advised to do so.

You should also advise your line manager or HR department that you are doing this. The most recent official guidelines include advice on contacting work when seeking medical advice, which is available HERE.

If you are in vulnerable group (ie, if you are over 60 or have a long-term medical condition like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure), you should phone your doctor for medical advice before attending work. Please don’t attend the doctor’s surgery unless specifically advised to do so.

You should also advise your line manager or HR department that you are doing this. The most recent official guidelines include advice on contacting work when seeking medical advice, which is available HERE.

If you’ve recently recovered from a critical illness, have recently been signed fit for work, but are concerned that you might be particularly vulnerable to the virus, you should phone your doctor for medical advice before attending work. Please don’t attend the doctor’s surgery unless specifically advised to do so.

You should also advise your line manager or HR department that you are doing this. The most recent official guidelines include advice on contacting work when seeking medical advice, which is available HERE.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) issued new advice, on Monday 16th March, on what employees should do if they have to go into self-quarantine or self-isolation as a result of the Covid-19 virus. You can read a summary HERE.

You will not automatically be paid if you are absent for work because of childcare difficulties arising from school or crèche closures. However, DPER has called on managers and employees to be flexible in such circumstances, and has advised public service employers to support staff experiencing childcare problems including by enabling home working or introducing flexible shifts, staggered shifts, longer opening hours or weekend working. You can read more HERE.

Staff who have recently returned from abroad – particularly from restricted areas as defined by the Department of Foreign Affairs, should follow HSE guidelines and/or seek medical advice.

You should also advise your line manager or HR department that you are doing this. The most recent official guidelines include advice on contacting work when seeking medical advice, which is available HERE.

If you have followed AHCPS/DPER advice and still encounter problems with your line manager or HR department, you should contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie or 01 6686077.

The Association is fully co-operating with emergency measures necessary to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus, protect the health and safety of citizens and workers, and maintain essential services during this unprecedented public health emergency. We will  continue to advise members to co-operate with all necessary measures, including some that might not be acceptable in normal times, so long as employers consult with us, respect existing collective agreements, and reach agreement with the Association if they feel it necessary to waive aspects of collective agreements in the short-term.

Members are strongly advised to co-operate with management in its efforts to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus, protect the health and safety of citizens and workers, and maintain essential services – including when this means doing different things, in different ways, at different times.

Guidance issued by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which is available HERE,  says staff redeployment across the civil and public services could be required to ensure the maintenance of essential services. It also called for the reassignment of staff within organisations to prioritise the most critical services.

The Association is in constant liaison with management to ensure that appropriate protective and containment measures are in place.

If you have genuine concerns about the health and safety of yourself or others, or if you genuinely believe that collective agreements are being seriously breached without union consultation, you should contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie or 01 6686077.

Hundreds of civil and public servants have already agreed to transfer to urgent tasks in other parts of the public service. Management in various settings will continue to seek volunteers for redeployment to the HSE to undertake urgent work such as contact-tracing and staffing helplines. The civil service is also continuing to seek redeployments into the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to deal with expected increase in workloads there.

The AHCPS strongly urges members to volunteer if they are able to do so, and to co-operate with requirements arising from such redeployments.

The AHCPS is here to protect you if you have problems arising from the coronavirus or other workplace issues. The best way to contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie or 01 6686077.  We will deal with queries as quickly as we can but, needless to say, the Association will prioritise cases where members’ jobs and incomes are at immediate risk – as well as any serious health and safety issues that may arise.

As previously notified the AHCPS has cancelled all face-to-face meetings for the time being. The Executive Committee of the Association has agreed to postpone the ADC (due to be held on the 22nd of May). It is likely that it will be held in November. AHCPS staff have been equipped to work remotely. Therefore, members should NOT attend AHCPS Head Office at this time. If you have a query or concern, the best way to raise it is to contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie or 01 6686077.

Thank you for your co-operation in these matters.

Please circulate this message to all members.

Stay safe.

Best regards

Ciaran

Ciaran Rohan

General Secretary

Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants

 

© 2020 Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants

  • Fleming's Hall 12 Fleming's Place Dublin 4 
  • Phone: +353 1 6686077 / 6686064
  • Fax: +353 1 6686380
  • Email: info@ahcps.ie

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Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants