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Remote working/returning to work and claiming credit August 5, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Anyone see the interview with Marc MacSharry in the IT on foot of his ‘box set’ remarks last week about public servants working from home.

Contacted for his response Mr MacSharry said he was “not getting into individual cases because they are far too numerous to mention”.

But he said “I welcome the fact that two days after my remarks, and the reaction that it procured” a circular was issued last Thursday “that everybody should unless absolutely necessary be back in their normal place of work, which I think is in line with the public health advice and it’ll serve society better”.

The IT suggests that:

Mr MacSharry was referring to a shift in Government policy last week when public sector staff were told they would be required to return to workplaces “when and as necessary, and deemed appropriate by their employer”.

But is the document the vindication of his position he suggests?
You can download it from here.

Flick to pp7 and you’ll read this:

The recovery of society and the economy is a priority for the public service. Public Service employees will be required to return to the employer’s work premises when and as necessary and deemed appropriate by their employer.

Which sort of states the obvious.

But then:

The Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business provides for home working to continue where possible. Home working will continue as and when deemed appropriate by the employer. Any continuation of home working must be balanced with the requirement to continue to provide the most effective and efficient services to the public.

And it goes on to say:

To continue to facilitate social distancing and public health requirements, where feasible, employers may consider the continuation of temporary alternative arrangements, or new temporary arrangements e.g. continuing to work from home or remotely on an agreed temporary basis, flexible shifts, staggered hours, longer opening hours, blended working patterns, weekend working etc. There should be engagement between management and unions/associations, in line with appropriate arrangements, for any such continued or new arrangements.

As well as:

Employers must ensure that all work premises have implemented robust return to workplace procedures, where not already in place, and that all procedures comply with the Roadmap and Return to Work Safely Protocol. These procedures should be clearly communicated to employees. The Protocol sets out the steps employers need to take in order to ensure the employer’s work premises is safe during COVID-19.
Employers should ensure that they have properly implemented the advice in the protocol and ensure that it is tailored, where necessary, to meet the unique set of circumstances pertaining to each sector and workplace location.

So, not quite the full-throated call for a return to workplaces that MacSharry suggests and certainly not a call that “everybody should unless absolutely necessary be back in their normal place of work”. That would appear to be a misrepresentation.

I’ve noted that the very same day as the PS guidelines dropped I was informed by the area I work in in the PS that:

…staff who can work remotely from home should do so. In
addition to the public health risk, it is also acknowledged that the capacity of public transport … may not be adequate to accommodate all staff in making their way to work … consequently a reduced on on-site capacity is required.

Oddly MacSharry doesn’t bother to acknowledge, let alone, address any of that. I’ve no doubt that some in the PS are keen to see workers back in offices (though this is an interesting straw in the wind) – but as people on here will attest, some have been working in those offices for the duration of the crisis, or most of it, and others like myself are working from home doing a 9 – 5.30 day and have been for months now. And the logistical problems remain – such as transport. In four weeks or so there’s going to be additional strains put on the transport system as schools and other educational institutions return. Realistically, given there is a pattern of private sector employments where feasible operating remotely, it makes little sense to force workers back.


1. Joe - August 5, 2020

Nice piece of gombeen opportunism from McSharry. Claiming credit for a communication that was in the works long before his erudite contribution to the national debate. And, as well set out by WBS, highlighting the bits that suit him.

I am awarding him the Top Dáil Gombeen Award for 2020. A stunning achievement by Mr McSharry given the top, top quality competition he faces.


WorldbyStorm - August 5, 2020

A crowded field but many would say you’ve been more than generous in your decision. You must make more awards during the lifetime of this Dáil.

Liked by 1 person

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