The term “supernumerary” which is sometimes used in relation to staff implies an extra post to the fixed establishment. Supernumerary posts may be temporary or permanent additions. Permanent supernumerary post are not normally filled but are retained to accommodate officers seconded to organisations outside the Civil Service for an extended period.
My qualifications are not listed in the Qualifications Order. How do I confirm if my qualifications are equivalent to those in the Qualifications Order?
Through your Ministry and Department submit a request to the Human Resource, Policy and Staffing Directorate to have your qualifications evaluated and confirm equivalency to those in the Qualifications Order.
Are you required to apply for vacation leave under the Telecommuting arrangement?
The status quo as it relates to the application of leave remains the same whilst working under all flexible working arrangements. Employees are required to adhere to the legislations that govern their conditions of service, for example, the General Orders for the Public Service and the Public Service Act. Hence, officers are required to take vacation leave, regardless of the flexible work arrangement.
Can you apply for a combination of Flexible Work Arrangements?
A public officer may propose a combination of flexible work arrangements for a defined period.
Is there a relationship between flexible work arrangements and the working arrangement related to Covid-19 protocol?
No relationship exists. The Flexible Work Arrangement Policy was developed in an effort to modernize the Public Service, improve productivity, performance and reduce absenteeism.
What happens if the request does not meet the 28-day guideline? What recourse does the officer have?
The officer may consult with the Supervisor about the reason for the delay. If the reason advanced is not reasonable, the officer may seek redress through the Grievance handling procedure.
Is there a standard amount of officers that should be in office during the core hour?
The number of persons in office during the core period is dependent on the nature of your business and/or department and should be determined by the Head of Department.
Is there a limit to the length a time a flexible work schedule can be entered into? Once the process is assessed and found to be working effectively can it be put in place indefinitely?
The approved arrangement in place should be for a defined period.
Should an officer be paid a salary if he/she is on sick leave and telecommuting? If so? Why?
The General Orders outlines the conditions under which an employee should/should not be paid salary whilst on sick leave. If an officer is on any type of leave, this serves to disrupt the flexible work schedule as you are no longer available to work.
The Flexible Work Arrangements do not replace any condition of service within the Public Service.
If an officer has a cold but they can work from home and prefer to stay at home due to Covid, why should this be logged as a sick day?
As long as the officer calls and indicates that they are unwell, it should be treated as a sick day, in accordance with the leave rules.
What is the procedure if persons are advised to be in office at least one day a week and they refuse to come in?
Absence from duty without permission is an offense. If the Head of Department requests an officer to be in office and the officer refuses to comply, this is considered insubordination and is an offense, hence, the officer can be disciplined.
With respect to submission of work plans; why is there a need to do so for staggered hours?
Work plans are a requirement under the PRDS process and are required to monitor performance, regardless of the work schedule. The work plan is therefore to be submitted along with the FWA application form.
What happens if an officer sees that they cannot make it in for 8 :15 due to unforeseen circumstances, but can make it in by 10:00 am, can the policy of flexi time be applied in this circumstance and they work the 8 hours from the 10:00 am?
If 8:15 is the officer’s standard work commencement time and they are unable to arrive to work by that time due to unforeseen circumstances, this should be communicated to the Supervisor as soon as this is realized. It is expected that when the officer reaches work, the standard number of hours the officer is required to work for the day should be completed. This should be done in consultation with the Supervisor.
A person’s hrs/days of work are agreed prior so an officer cannot ask for an impromptu change i.e. I am scheduled to be on duty today but I have an appointment and would like to come into the office on another day or during another period?
Each day an officer is on duty, except where the officer works a compressed work week. On any occasion an officer is unable to report for work, the absence needs to be approved by the Supervisor and similarly, any adjustment to the work schedule needs to be approved.
What happens if during the day set aside for the office in the telecommuting schedule, an emergency comes up, how is this handled?
The Supervisor needs to be informed of the emergency as soon as it is realized and approval sought for an adjustment to the work schedule, if this can be accommodated.
If your department works 7 days a week. Can you include those days in your proposed schedule?
If your organization works seven (7) days a week this suggests that staff are required to work within a shift system. The flexible work arrangements may therefore not be suited to this type of work schedule. However, if any of the flexible work schedules can be accommodated, they should be considered within the standard schedule/work week of the department.
Can an allowance be made for the days to be shifted in the compressed work week to make sure that the needs of the office and the individuals can be met in cases of emergency?
Any variation/shift in the agreed schedule is at the discretion of the Supervisor and requires approval as it is vital that the operations are not affected. It is, therefore, necessary to have discussion with the Supervisor to see what can be accommodated.
If the supervisor is against staff Telecommuting even though they can what can the staff do?
There are certain requirements that should be in place in order for telecommuting to be considered, as outlined in the Policy. The technological requirements include equipment, communication and cyber security. Consideration also needs to be given to the aspect of employee performance, confidentiality, and whether the job can safely be done remotely. If these requirements are in place and the functions can be done remotely and safely, the officer should consult in relation to why there is a reservation to allowing staff to work remotely. If all conditions are met and there is still refusal to consider the work arrangement, the employee may consider
invoking the Grievance Procedure.
Does the request go to the parent ministry or to the department?
Final approval lies with the Permanent Secretary and Head of Departments listed in Eighth Schedule of the Public Service Act, Cap. 29.
Is there any group of employees who are not eligible to work under THE Flexible Work Arrangments?
Those jobs not eligible for flexible work arrangement are those who are required to work a shift schedule as well as those who are required to be in office at set/scheduled times. This includes Fire Officers, Immigration Officers, Security personnel, Police Officers, Prison Officers, Maid, Driver/Messengers, Receptionists, Teachers, etc.
What is considered an operational reason for denial of an FWA as reasons being given for denial, are not operational, in my opinion.
Denial of Flexible Work Arrangements should be given based on reasonable business grounds. Examples are:
•absence of IT infrastructure and communication tools to support the FWA
•negative impact on customer service (both internal and external customers)
•poor employee performance record
Are they any provisions for officers who have selected Telecommuting and duties forced them to work overtime, would these times be counted as OT and be paid for? if so? can this be discussed with the HOD/PS?
Regardless of the work arrangement, an officer can be asked to work overtime. The type of award granted for the working of overtime should be discussed.
Can Flexible Work Arrangements be used to extend days/time for study or does the provision for time away from office to go to classes would be what would be applied for guidance?
The availability of Flexible Work Arrangements provides the opportunity for employees to seek a schedule that permits them to attend classes while maintaining their standard work hours for the week. In other words, an officer has the opportunity to request to work a schedule such flexi-time, staggered hours, or compressed work week which takes into account class times and also permits them to work the standard number of hours for the week.
Have any scenarios been encountered where supervisors 'abuse' the flexible work arrangements, where supervisees are expected to work excessive hours under a flexible work arrangement?
Evidence of supervisors ‘abusing’ the flexible work arrangements have not been encountered. Employees are required to work the standard hours for the work week regardless of the work arrangement, except in those instances where overtime is required to complete tasks.
If I apply for telecommuting, would it be correct for the 2nd level supervisor to decide that I would benefit more from a compress working arrangement and sent it off without discussing it with me?
The Flexible Work Arrangement process is one that is collaborative. Therefore, it is encouraged that all stakeholders involved in the process continue to communicate and collaborate as much as possible prior to final approval.
If my organisation has not fully implemented the PRDS and does not have work plans defined should an employee be refused a compressed or telecommuting work arrangement because of the organization's unpreparedness.
Flexible Work Arrangement applications should not be processed unless a work plan is submitted along with the application. Therefore, it is encouraged that either the PRDS work plan or a work plan that is compliant with the PRDS work plan be developed and submitted along with the Flexible Work Arrangement application.
If you are required to supervise employees, does that limit the type of Flexible Work Arrangement available to you?
In considering a flexible work schedule, it is vital that one assesses whether the job function can be performed effectively and efficiently under the proposed arrangement. Hence, a Supervisor, in assessing which, if any, flexible work arrangement can be done, needs to assess whether the function can be carried out effectively with limited/no disruption to operations and the service delivered.
The Human Resource Policy & Staffing Directorate, formerly Ministry of the Civil Service, facilitates the formulation and implementation of human resource polices; ensuring an adequate staffing complement and the best possible conditions of service.