NEWS

Longer hours for civil servants by end of May

In less than a month, public servants will have to start working more hours each week, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis has told Skai TV.

The government announced earlier this year that it would change the law so that bureaucrats work 40 hours a week rather than 37.5. Ragousis has now revealed that the relevant legislation will be passed this month.

?It?s an issue that not only borders on the realm of common sense but falls well within it,? he said. ?There?s no question that we have to work more.?

Ragousis told Sunday?s Kathimerini in an interview in March that the extension of civil servants? working week by 2.5 hours would be the equivalent of hiring 45,000 new employees in the public sector.

?The 40-hour working week in the public sector is very important for the service we provide to citizens and for the economy — it is equal to hiring 45,000 people — especially at this difficult time for the country,? he said.

?I remind people that the 37.5-hour week was established in May 1981 but was never extended to the private sector,? added Ragousis. ?We should not forget that private employees work at least 40 hours a week without the security of having a job for life.?

The government has also said it will only hire one civil servant for every five that leave the public sector as part of a bid to reduce costs but it is thought that this figure might be raised to seven.