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Dublin City Council staff told to be back at desks next month

DUBLIN City Council staff have been told to return to the office full-time next month before they will be given the option of blended working.

message to the workers says the move follows a review of current arrangements of three days “onsite” for its office-based employees.

It says all staff will return  to office-based working on June 7.

The council intends to begin taking applications for blended work from mid-June.

It says there will be a four-week window for applications.

This suggests the new hybrid working arrangements may not be put into practice until at least the end of July as applications will have to be processed.

A Department of Public Expenditure policy statement for the civil service had set a deadline of March this year for departments and offices
to finalise their blended working policies.

However, a department spokesperson said a more recent blended working policy framework was published in March this year.

She said departments and offices are currently working on their individual blended working policies, “to be implemented by the end of quarter two of this year”.

The Programme for Government makes a commitment to move to 20pc remote or home working across the public sector.

Dessie Robinson, head of Fórsa’s local government division, said the union has told council management it expects a rapid move to the new arrangements agreed for the local government sector.

“We see blended working playing a big part in future work organisation in Dublin City Council and other local councils,” he said.

A union spokesperson said the local authority framework will give workers the right to apply for remote or blended working. It does not guarantee blended work arrangements for all who apply, but workers will be able to have the decision reviewed if they are turned down.

The council message says: “In moving to the next phase all staff will return to full-time office-based working on Tuesday June 7, 2022.

“This will enable colleagues to reconnect with their full team and with the organisation and will enable managers to take the opportunity to reset their work and service requirements post-pandemic.”

It says the full return to the office will provide “the necessary break” between Covid-related hybrid working and a new blended working arrangement.

Management says it will ensure all applicants for blended working will be applying from “an equal starting point”.

A Dublin City Council spokesperson said a significant number of staff have been attending workplaces on a full-time basis during the pandemic. He said a phased return has been implemented since the lifting of public health restrictions earlier this year.

“To complete this phased return, all staff will resume full on-site working on June 7,” he said. “The city council is committed to the successful introduction of blended working in the organisation and, over the coming weeks, will be introducing a long-term blended working policy that is designed to best suit the needs of our organisation, customers and staff.”

He said the full return will facilitate staff engagement and the application process.

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