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Work arrangements

Working hours

From 1 July 2013, the Civil Service normal attendance period will be 09.00 to 17.45 Monday to Thursday (17.15 on Friday).

Most civil servants will work forty three and a quarter hours gross per week, i.e. inclusive of lunch breaks.

Most Government Departments/Offices operate a system of Flexible Working Hours (FWH). Under this system, civil servants must work their full quota of hours, but they are given more flexibility in doing so.

For example, staff may, within certain limits, vary their arrival times, departure times, and lunch breaks. Hours that are open to variation in this way are known as ‘Flexible Hours’.

The main part of the day, when all staff should be at their jobs, is not open to variation and is known as ‘Core Time’*.

A typical working day under FWH might be divided as follows, subject to the business need in the area:

08.00 – 10.00 – Flexible Morning Band

Staff may start work any time during this band. Time worked before 08.00 will not gain credit

10.00 – 12.30 – Morning Core Time

Staff must be present during this period unless on an authorised absence

12.30 – 14.30 – Flexible Lunch Band

Staff must take a minimum lunch break of 30 minutes but the break may be extended to last up to 2 hours

14.30 – 16.00 – Afternoon Core Time

Staff must be present during this period unless on an authorised absence

16.00 – 19.00 – Flexible Evening Band

Staff may finish work any time during this band. Time worked after 19.00 will not gain credit.

Under FWH, staff are allowed to work up additional time in a four week flexi period which may be taken as time off (flexi-leave) in a subsequent four week flexi period.

In order to qualify for flexi-leave an individual must have built up credit as follows:

(i) 3 hours 42 minutes to be absent for one morning core period (or one half day a.m.);

(ii) 3 hours 42 minutes to be absent for one afternoon core period (or one half day p.m.);

(iii) 7 hours 24 minutes to be absent for one full day.

With effect from 1 July 2014, the maximum amount of flexi leave allowed in any flexi period is one day.

*It may be necessary in a particular workplace to amend the core time bands to reflect the additional working hours and to meet the business needs. However, the introduction of any changes to core time bands will be subject to detailed consultation at workplace level.

Circular0011/2013 Revision of Working Hours and Flexible Working Arrangements for Civil Servants

FAQs on additional hours, Circular 11 of 2013


The Civil Service Worksharing Scheme is further amended with effect from 1 July, 2013. From this date, new worksharing patterns of less than 50% of full time working hours will not be approved.

There are two cases were an exemption may apply. These are:

  • staff who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance may work for up to 15 hours per week
  • staff with a disability who have been provided with a reasonable accommodation to work less than 50% of full time working hours can continue to work such pattern for as long as the reasonable accommodation is required.

Staff, who on 30 June 2013 are on patterns of less than 50%, can retain the work pattern on a personal to holder basis, subject to management’s overall discretion to alter or change an individual’s worksharing arrangements with three months’ notice.

Details of the Scheme are set out in Circular 31 of 2001 Civil Service Worksharing Scheme (as amended by Circular 11 of 2010 – Amendment to Circular 31 of 2001 Civil Service Worksharing Scheme).

Circular 0031/2001

Circular 0011/2010

Please also refer to Letters to Personnel Officers


missing 13/11/2001



Worksharing means that staff may choose a daily/weekly work pattern which is different from the standard working day/week.

All civil servants, whether established or unestablished including, subject to certain conditions, those on probation may apply to workshare.

Staff who opt for worksharing are required to do so for a minimum of twelve months. Each individual’s worksharing arrangements must be formally reviewed on an annual basis.

In general, worksharers enjoy pro-rata arrangements with their full-time colleagues in relation to pay and other conditions of employment.

A person participating in the Worksharing Scheme may take up other paid employment outside the Civil Service, subject to the same conditions that apply to full-time civil servants, but in particular that there must be no conflict of interest, and that the outside employment does not interfere with the proper performance of Civil Service duties.

Circular 0012/2013

Missing Doc - FAQs on Work Sharing Circular 12 of 2013

Shorter Working Year Scheme

This scheme supercedes previous term time scheme.

The current term time scheme only allows for parents of school-going children up to 18 years of age to take a continuous block of 8, 10 or 13 weeks unpaid leave during the summer holidays so as to have time off with their children.

This new scheme will allow any civil servant an opportunity to take up to 3 continuous blocks of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 13 weeks (to a maximum of 13 weeks) unpaid leave for any reason at any time during the year.

Staff may apply for more than one period in any year subject to a maximum of 13 weeks in that year.

New entrants on probation may apply for participation in the scheme subject to certain conditions. Applicants should contact their Personnel Sections.

The periods will count as service for the purposes of increment and seniority. It will not, however, count for remuneration or superannuation purposes.

Staff participating in the Shorter Working Year Scheme may apply for special administrative arrangements for the payment of part of basic salary during the period of unpaid leave.

Staff availing of this scheme will in the majority of cases not be replaced.  The widening of the scheme will reduce the paybill in the civil service.  This scheme is also being rolled out to the wider public service.

Circular 0014/2009

Career breaks

The Career Break Scheme provides that civil servants may be granted special leave without pay for a specific reason.

A career break may be granted for family reasons, other domestic reasons, travel, educational purposes, taking up employment in the private sector or becoming self-employed.

Career breaks may be granted for a period of at least six months up to a maxium of 3 years for taking up employment in the private sector or becoming self-employed and a maximum of 5 years for other reasons.

Eligible staff may, in general, avail of three career breaks during their career in the Civil Service subject to a maximum of 12 years in total.

The period of a career break will not count as service for promotion, increment, or superannuation.

On completion of a career break, an officer will be assigned to the next appropriate vacancy, with a guarantee of re-employment in his/her original grade (in line with redeployment arrangements in place), within twelve months of the end of the career break.

Circular 4 of 2013 revoked Circular 18 of 1998,  letters to Personnel Officers dated 3rd March 2008 and 18th March 2009.

Circular 0018/1998

If a civil servant who commences a career break prior to the effective date of Circular 4 of 2013 (i.e. 22nd February 2013) wishes to have the terms of that Circular apply to them, s/he must apply tho their HR Unit using the application form and Form of Undertaking at Appendix 1 of the Circular.

Circular 0004/2013

Working from home

Circular 04 of 2003 Pilot Scheme to promote e-working in the Civil Service– This Circular advises Departments of the Government’s policy on e-working and teleworking in the Civil Service and requests them to assess the possible introduction of such working arrangements on a pilot basis.

Circular 0004/2003