12° Nicosia,
24 July, 2024

Cabinet to decide on flexible working in Cyprus public sector

As the Council of Ministers contemplates flexible working, skepticism abounds about true change

Newsroom / CNA

The Council of Ministers is poised to make a decision regarding proposed flexible working arrangements in the public sector this August, according to Maria Kleanthous, First Officer and Head of the Human Resources Management and Labour Relations Section of the Department of Public Administration and Personnel. The move comes as part of the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, with a target completion date set for the close of 2024.

Kleanthous explained that in alignment with the commitments outlined in the Plan, an examination of international flexible employment models has been undertaken to ascertain their potential applicability within the public service while ensuring seamless service functionality. This preliminary study represents the initial milestone as stipulated by the Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The second milestone aims to actualize flexible working systems by the end of 2024. Kleanthous indicated that a decision from the Council of Ministers on the specific forms of flexible work in the public sector is currently pending. It is anticipated that the proposal will be submitted to the Cabinet for review and finalization before the close of August.

While the Ministry of Labour has already submitted a telecommuting bill for the private sector to the Parliamentary Labour Committee, Kleanthous noted that the journey toward implementing teleworking in the public sector remains in progress. Emphasizing that the proposed bill’s general principles could extend to the public sector, Kleanthous clarified that potential adjustments and directives might be explored in the future.

In response to inquiries about the prerequisites for implementing teleworking in the public sector, Kleanthous cited the necessity for improved infrastructural capacities. The timeline set until 2024 allows for the evolution of these systems, thereby promoting equitable treatment for all employees.

Kleanthous also revealed that the range of flexible working options under consideration included alterations to existing working hours, allowing for increased flexibility, as well as reduced hours with corresponding pay adjustments for specific employee categories. Notably, Kleanthous clarified that the current proposal does not endorse a four-day workweek.

Addressing concerns about monitoring the productivity of telecommuting employees, Kleanthous suggested assigning specific tasks for remote completion. As not all jobs require continuous computer interaction, deliverables are likely to play a pivotal role in assessing performance. Kleanthous emphasized the importance of adhering to data privacy regulations in these monitoring endeavors.

In a broader perspective, Kleanthous highlighted the potential benefits of flexible employment models, particularly teleworking, including alleviating congestion and diminishing operational expenses for public services.

The upcoming decision by the Council of Ministers is poised to shape the future of flexible working within Cyprus' public sector, ushering in changes that could redefine how employees engage with their work.

Cyprus  |  government  |  labor

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