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Civil Service- On Call out of hours cover

  • 24-06-2023 9:14am
    Registered Users Posts: 47

    Can anyone tell me what is the official rule for out of hours cover in the civil service! Recently started a new position and they expect you to be on call in the evening and at weekends. They pay overtime if you get calls but surely it should be an allowance you’re on call. Anyway I don’t want to work weekends, can I just point blank refuse it’s a HEO position but they also expect EOs to do it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 169 ✭✭TheJet

    What area are you working in?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,971 ✭✭✭EchoIndia

    The civil service is not the universal "9 to 5" system beloved of commentators and many outside the public service. There are more than a few jobs where some degree of flexibility is needed, even for the junior or middle grades. (I'm not sure what the standard terms and conditions say nowadays.)

    Press and communications would be one such area, and in my experience a rota may be operated to ensure that the burden is fairly distributed. To opt out of such an arrangement would obviously shift the burden onto others and wouldn't be very conducive to a good team dynamic. Have you discussed the issue with your manager?

    If you really want to completely avoid weekend obligations, a move to another work area might be the only solution, but HR may not be able to effect this, certainly not immediately.

    In the longer-term, for anyone planning to stay in the civil service and be promoted to more senior grades, I would say that you need to be prepared for a degree of intrusion into personal time - not as a constant feature and not in every job, but it can happen and has to be accepted.

  • Registered Users Posts: 47 coupons1987

    Happy to be flexible but this is every second weekend or so that’s not in any terms and conditions for the role.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,971 ✭✭✭EchoIndia

    Than I suggest taking it up with your manager in the first instance.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,776 ✭✭✭thomas 123

    On call but only paid if you get a call sounds mad to me - so your working then still at work all the time?

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,711 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach

    Semi-state practice is one day's wages are paid for being on call for the week and time in lieu for any time spent handling the out of hours call. This seems to mirror industry's terms.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,353 ✭✭✭KaneToad

    Agreed. This is nonsense. We need you sober, awake, in the country and available for the weekend in case work demands arise. But we'll only pay you if a request for work actually arises!

    How would they contact their employees anyways? Via email, phone? I don't leave either on unless I'm being paid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,971 ✭✭✭✭AndrewJRenko

    Have you contacted your union about the on call payment issue and the grading issue?

  • Registered Users Posts: 169 ✭✭TheJet

    In a previous role I was expected to be on call.  There was a rota between HEO’s and EO’s so I was on call every 5 weeks.  I claimed an ‘on call allowance’ for the week i.e. Mon-Sun regardless of whether I got a call out or not.  For every call out I got, I claimed a ‘call out allowance’   Obviously was taxed on these allowances.  It’s not uncommon for some departments to expect staff of your grade or higher to work out of hours e.g customs, courts.  I also know of a CO who is an allowanced post and from time to time has to work earlier mornings, later evenings and some Saturdays but as they are already getting an extra allowance don’t get overtime.