Civil servants will soon be able, if they so wish, to move from full-time into part-time employment. According to a draft bill presented yesterday by Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis to Prime Minister Costas Simitis, this facility will target three groups of civil servants: women wanting to raise their children, those undertaking graduate studies and older employees with only a few years until retirement. According to sources, the draft bill provides more generous incentives to those who would wish to become part-timers than legislation already enacted in other European Union countries: The part-time status will not exceed five years and will not affect younger employees’ promotion chances or older employees’ pension rights and rates. The government has discovered that many posts in the civil service can be filled with part-time employees. But it has so far encountered the refusal of civil servants’ union ADEDY to concede to employees changing status. In general, part-time employment in Greece, as a percentage of the total workforce, is very low. The bill also provides for the hiring of 30-35,000 part-timers in so-called social work jobs, ranging from creche workers and carers for the elderly to guards for archaeological sites. The part-timers will meet any extra needs beyond the regular personnel’s eight working hours. Some of the part-timers will be hired from the long-term unemployed. All those hired will sign contracts with a maximum duration of two years, and a five-month extension option. Whether the contract will be extended or not will depend on an employee’s credentials and record. The experience of those hired will count as an extra asset if they wish to become permanent civil servants. Part-timers, however, will not be hired according to the strict selection criteria reserved for full-timers. The bill also needs the assent of Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas. It is expected to be submitted to Parliament by the end of January, with the first hirings – or transfers of status – taking place by the end of 2003. It appears that the consent of the all-powerful ADEDY has already been secured.