OVER SIXTY CIVIL servants in government departments have been on career breaks for over five years.
The figures were revealed this week in the Dáil, in response to a series of parliamentary questions by Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen, who asked each minister to reveal the numbers at their departments.
Leading the way in terms of numbers are the Department of Justice, which has 77 people on leaves of absence, and the Department of Social Protection, which has 73. The departments have 12 and five people on leave of over five years, respectively.
Both the Departments of Children and Health are the two departments with the least number of staff out on career breaks, with three apiece.
The Department of Jobs has 13 people on long-term breaks, while eight people are on long-term leave from the Department of Agriculture.
In order to be eligible for a career break, a staff member must, according to government guidelines:
“Have satisfactorily completed two years continuous service, including any probationary period” and “be in a position to complete the career break and resume duty before reaching maximum retirement age”.
Staff are entitled to take breaks for the following reasons:
- Family reasons
- Other domestic reasons
- Educational purposes (educational purposes may include training courses with a practical training element for which there is a nominal payment/grant made to the student)
- Not less than six months and not more than three years for the purpose of taking up employment in the private sector or becoming self-employed.