NEWS

Improving civil service

The Interior Ministry is likely to introduce a new civil service code that will change the way civil servants are promoted, transferred, disciplined and granted leave. The new code will also add stricter policies on job performance reviews by adding a personal interview when considering promotions. The goal of the new code is to encourage efficiency and develop human resources. It will also revamp the disciplinary code by extending the statute of limitations on violations from two to three years from five to eight years on more serious offenses such as abuse of power, accepting bribes, insubordination and abuse of confidentiality. The Interior Ministry will personally be able to bring disciplinary action against staff members of Citizens’ Service Centers for improper behavior toward the public and unjustified refusals to serve them. The ministry wants the evaluation system to be linked to setting targets and efficiency indicators in order to bring back objective criteria about how both the department and staff can meet their goals. The civil servants’ union (ADEDY) also wants to reintroduce the point system for promotions that adds up length of service, educational qualifications and current position. This is being given serious consideration, but one senior ministry official says he fears that too much objectivity on promotions may lead to inflexibility. «We need to have a combination of procedures and criteria so that the relevant council will have the most reliable image possible of the particular staff member,» the official told Kathimerini. The new code also recognizes the rights of divorced fathers to reduced hours or nine months leave for child care, and this also applies to single-parent families. When a family has a fourth child, both parents can also get reduced working hours. Staff members undergoing retraining or postgraduate studies in Greece can also get a pay increase of 40 percent, up from 15 percent. An employee operating a computer or who works in front of a computer screen for more than four hours daily will have the right to one day’s leave on full pay every two months. Also, a staff member who donates blood will have the right to a special leave of two days. Civil servants may begin to take leave two months after their appointment. The leave is set at two days for every month of service. Transfers Staff who apply for transfer will have priority over unsolicited transfers. No member of a large family with at least four children may be transferred, nor may people with disabilities. Temporary transfers may not last longer than three years and may be automatically revoked at the end of that time. Inter-departmental transfers may be applied for twice a year – in March and October, on the condition that a position is vacant in the desired department. Vacant positions must be announced in at least one daily newspaper.