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25 July, 2024
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How University of Cyprus handles overtime pay

Christofides reveals the lawful way of overtime payments

By Marios Christofi and Panayiotis Rougalas

The University of Cyprus, led by its rector, Tassos Christofides, acknowledged that overtime was paid to Doxa Komodromou. However, they clarified that this payment was done in accordance with the law and without any external instructions.

Mr. Tasos Christofides explained to "K" that when a university employee is seconded to the public service, their salary is covered by the University of Cyprus. Regarding overtime, if the seconded employee works overtime in their hosting organization (e.g., the presidential office or the Ministry), that organization provides documented records of their work hours and days to the University of Cyprus. The University then verifies compliance with the legislation and processes the monetary compensation. Ultimately, the funds are returned to the University by the president's office or the Ministry of Finance.

Christofides emphasized that their actions were not influenced by external parties but were simply a matter of following the law. He also pointed out that, besides Ms. Komodromou, there are three other University employees seconded to public service roles, one of whom has a higher pay scale than Ms. Komodromou, and the same procedure is applied to them.

At the same time, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides, addressing the Finance Committee, disclosed that Ms. Doxa Komodromou had received 2,486 euros as "overtime" for the months of March, April, and May, along with 11 days of "time off." Michaelides asserted that this money should be reimbursed by her, and the 10,000 euro request for overtime should be withdrawn.

An auditor noted that Mrs. Komodromou does not "clock in" at the presidential office, and if she doesn't record her hours, she shouldn't request overtime payment. Despite being a state official, she does not hold a state office.

Regarding the concept of a "double door," the Auditor General suggested that it would be best to abandon this practice, as it causes complications. He also questioned the appropriateness of a University employee performing deputy government representative duties.

Michaelides elaborated on the 2,486 euros in overtime, revealing that it stemmed from Ms. Komodromou's attendance at a Cabinet meeting from 3 pm to midnight, a Sunday memorial service from 7 am to 12 pm, and the opening of an observatory from 5 pm to 10 pm. He emphasized that there were no legitimate reasons to request overtime pay for these activities, as they did not align with the law.

Concerning the already-received overtime fee of 2,486 euros, it was paid by the University of Cyprus at the president's special request, but without sufficient justification. Michaelides suggested that if this money is returned to the University of Cyprus, the matter would be considered resolved.

A letter from the Ministry of Finance to the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, dated September 13, 2023, indicated a deduction of 10,037 euros from Ms. Komodromou's remuneration. She holds a secondment agreement from the University of Cyprus and serves at the presidential office as an officer. The president had requested 51,795 euros from the Finance Committee to cover her payroll and overtime, spanning from March to December.

Ms. Komodromou's salary at the University of Cyprus falls within the A8 scale, amounting to approximately 2,100 euros in gross earnings.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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