NEWS

Government plan foresees extension of remote working across public sector

government-plan-foresees-extension-of-remote-working-across-public-sector

Remote working for civil servants, which has effectively undergone a trial run during the Covid-19 pandemic, could be extended indefinitely after the end of the public lockdown, which the government gradually started easing this week, Kathimerini understands.

A legislative framework currently being drafted by the government foresees the extension of teleworking across the Greek public sector, Kathimerini has learned. But the initiative appears to have been several months in the making, not a response to the pandemic.

Just a few months after coming to power last summer, the conservative administration applied for remote working for civil servants to be inducted into the European Union structural funding program for Greece and subsequently received initial approval for the scheme.

The needs that suddenly arose with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the development of the project and a draft legislative framework detailing the terms and conditions of its implementation is expected to be completed soon.

According to sources, remote working will be extended in the first phase to public servants in administrative and financial services as well as those working in IT and back office jobs.

The experiment of shifting public servants to teleworking will be a gradual one, with the initial scenario foreseeing employees visiting their offices a few days every month until a reliable remote system has been established, Kathimerini understands. As of next Monday, some 70 percent of civil servants are expected to return to their offices in the first instance until the teleworking scheme is finalized.

As for the ratio of the work that civil servants will be expected to do from home, this will depend on the needs of the various departments. “This is something we had been planning anyway,” one official said. “Coronavirus just obliged us to enforce remote working more quickly and empirically.”

The legislative framework will include provisions for specific categories of employees such as mothers with small children, Kathimerini understands.

Over the course of the pandemic, a plethora of public sector services were successfully digitized as part of an effort led by Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos. It is expected that the broadening use of the digital signature will contribute toward the transition of teleworking for public sector workers by helping reduce red tape.