In August, the flexible forms of work in the State will be introduced in the Ministry

Within August, the Council of Ministers is expected to decide on the proposed forms of flexible work in the State

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Within August, the Council of Ministers is expected to decide in relation to the proposed forms of flexible work in the public sector, Maria Kleanthous, First Officer, Head of the Human Resources Management and Labor Relations Department of the Department of Public Administration and Personnel, told KYPE.

The milestone for the implementation of flexible working forms in the public service, as envisaged by the Recovery and Resilience Plan, is the end of 2024.

Mrs. Cleanthus stated that based on the Plan's commitments, as far as the public sector is concerned, "we are obliged to conduct a study, see what other countries are doing, get to know the flexible forms of employment and see the possibility of applying them to the public service and under what conditions, to ensure the proper functioning of the services".

This study, he said, is the first milestone set by the Recovery and Resilience Plan. The second milestone is the implementation of flexible forms of work, until the end of 2024. "At this stage, a decision by the Council of Ministers on flexible forms of work in the public sector is pending. We believe that in the next few days, before the end of August, the proposal will go to the Cabinet and the relevant decision will be made on which flexible forms we will implement within the time period", noted Ms. Cleanthos.

It is recalled that the Ministry of Labor has already submitted to the Parliamentary Labor Committee a bill on teleworking in the private sector, with MPs requesting that the public service be included in the bill. However, Mrs. Cleanthus told KYPE that there is still a way to go before teleworking can be implemented in the public sector. "We could not say that the bill promoted by the Ministry of Labor also applies to the public service, because there is still a way to go," he noted, adding that after the decision of the Council of Ministers, they must run procedures with a timetable before implementation .

He noted, however, that the relevant bill of the Ministry of Labor sets general principles and general parameters and "one could say that these should also bind the public, when we decide to implement it. So, in the second year, some modification of that law can be made and the public service can be included or a separate regulation can be made. It's something that will be decided along the way," he said, clarifying that a law is probably not needed for the public service. "Maybe what we will regulate can be regulated by ordinances and directives. These could be put into a framework that could be approved by the Council of Ministers, without the need for a law," he added.

He also mentioned that a relevant EU-level directive is pending, which has not yet been formulated. "Therefore we will see what the outcome of that directive will be to see if we should take into account parameters that will be included" in it, he said.

Asked about what needs to be done for teleworking to be implemented in the public sector, Ms Cleanthus said that there needs to be a greater development in available systems and infrastructure, which is why the time until the end of 2024 is needed. There may be services that have advanced and have systems available that could allow remote work, but there are also services that are still behind, he said, clarifying that "we are also concerned about the element of equal treatment."

Asked what other forms of flexible working were being considered, apart from telecommuting for the public service, Ms Cleanthus said that included flexible working hours, which are currently 7-8.30am and 2.30-4pm. There could be more flexibility, so that the flexible instead of 1,5 hours becomes 2 hours, he said. Also, he added, is the issue of reduced employment with reduced pay, for specific categories of employees. He clarified, however, that at this stage the four-day work week is not promoted.

Productivity control with deliverables

In response to how the productivity of telecommuting employees is expected to be monitored, Ms. Cleanthus stated that “what we see as an effective measure to monitor employee work is assigning specific work to be performed remotely. A person who is granted permission to work two days a week remotely, both the employee and the supervisor should know what work will be performed and the expected results should be there.

It is a given, he added, that there can be no effective control of the card that we know what time the employee arrives and leaves his job. Although there are technological systems that can record when an employee logs on and off the computer, not all jobs require the employee to be in constant contact with a computer, Ms. Cleanthus said. “There is work that can be done away from a computer that cannot be measured otherwise. So the most likely thing is that the control will be done with deliverables", he noted.

He emphasized, however, that any measure should be consistent with the legislative framework for the personal data of citizens and, in this case, of employees.

In general, flexible forms of employment and especially teleworking, since it will involve remote work or work from home, will also lead to decongestion from traffic and reduced operating costs for public services, Ms. Cleanthus noted. .

Source: KYPE