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Covid 19 - Update for members

(27 Mar 2020)

Covid 19 – Update for members Friday 27 March, 2020

 

Colleagues

Firstly I hope that this message finds you and your families safe and well.

The AHCPS main phone line (01 6686077) is open. Calls to this number are diverted to one of the Official’s mobiles. Alternatively members can contact the relevant Official: Billy Thompson – bthompson@ahcps.ie  (086) 1710043, Paul Malone – pmalone@ahcps.ie (086) 0109009 or  Ciaran Rohan – crohan@ahcps.ie (087) 2300300 or info@ahcps.ie to submit queries directly.

All of us in the AHCPS and across the nation are hugely grateful to the large number of health and welfare staff, of all grades, whose job might put them in contact with people who have the coronavirus. It was heartening to see the level of support that healthcare workers received at 8pm last night.

Following Tuesday’s Government advice that people should not to go to work if they could work from home, or if their attendance at the workplace was not essential, the Association has sought official guidance on what constitutes ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ work. The Association has also sought clarification on the position of staff who depend on public transport after An Taoiseach advised against any “unnecessary” travel.

In the meantime, 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.

AHCPS is advising its members to await guidance from their employers. Otherwise they may lose pay if they fail to report for work.

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.

AHPCS is aware that a growing number of public service offices are either closing or offering more limited services than usual. Nevertheless, you should follow Association 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.

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.

Current HSE occupational health advice says management has a responsibility to redeploy medically vulnerable staff from direct contact with people with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 if requested. The same advice says medically vulnerable staff who have said they want to be redeployed cannot be rostered to work with coronavirus patients.

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 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 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..

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 AHPCS/DPER advice and still encounter problems with your line manager or HR department, you should contact the Association at info@ahcps.ie.

New arrangements for a public service-wide mobilisation to tackle the Covid-19 virus and maintain essential public services have been put in place. They allow the temporary transfer of civil and public servants to critical roles in the HSE, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and elsewhere for up to three months, with a possible extension if required.

Under the new arrangements, published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) on Wednesday 18th March, local human resource departments across the civil and public service will identify staff who could be released for temporary transfers. It is likely that these arrangements will be updated later today.

Staff identified as available for potential temporary transfer will receive a link to an online questionnaire for submission to a dedicated Public Appointments Service (PAS) portal. Then PAS will process temporary assignments in consultation with the relevant local HR departments – with assignments starting as soon as possible.

The new measures guarantee that staff who take on temporary roles will continue to be employed, and paid by, their existing employer. And they will return to their existing employer and role once the temporary transfer is over. The measures also confirm that HSE-recommended social distancing will be observed in work settings, and that transferred staff will receive necessary training and upskilling.

AHCPS officials are available to deal with any problems that arise for members. The best way to contact the Association is at info@ahcps.ie.

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.

The AHPCS is here to protect you if you have problems arising from the coronavirus or other workplace issues. We will deal with queries as quickly as we can.

AHCPS has cancelled all face-to-face meetings for the time being.

The ADC scheduled for the 22nd of May has been cancelled and rescheduled for the 16th of November.

This message has been placed on the Association website www.ahcps.ie Please follow us on twitter @ahcps for additional updates.

Please circulate this message to all members.

Stay safe and well.

Best regards

Ciaran

 

Ciaran Rohan

General Secretary

Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b1/Email_Shiny_Icon.svg/256px-Email_Shiny_Icon.svg.png crohan@ahcps.ie

+353 1 6686077

www.ahcps.ie 

Flemings Hall, 12 Flemings Place, Dublin 4, D04 A028

© 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