GRA 11/7 (PJS/MM) 18th September, 2012
Each member : Garda Representative Association
The Working Time Agreement –
A Modern Agreement for a Modern Police Force
The new pilot roster for An Garda Siochána came into effect on the 30th April, 2012. It was not possible at that time for the
Garda Representative Association to reconcile issues to formulate and agree a Working Time Agreement. Compensatory rest in
the reference periods could not be finalised. During the discussions on rosters the Garda Representative Association sought the
advices of Mr Joe Wallace, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Limerick and Dr Andrew Coogan, NUI, Maynooth. The GRA
negotiators believed it was better to have no agreement than a bad one and to get the maximum value for our members with the entitlements of the European Working Time Directive.
I am pleased to inform you that after a prolonged period of negotiations the Association has agreed a Working Time Agreement
that is enclosed for your guidance. The WTA is a substantive document approved by our Consultants and Central Executive Committee.
The Working Time Agreement (WTA) is an innovative document that has benefits for members of the Garda Representative
Association. It provides for regulations on the operation of the new rosters, allows for more Gardaí on duty at times of high
demand and gives effect to the provisions of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD). It provides management with
specific derogations from sections of the EWTD to allow for effective policing while granting equivalent protections to members.
The protections remedy the many deficiencies from a health, safety and welfare perspective present in the previous rosters and
working time arrangements in An Garda Síochána. These protections are based on professional medical and ergonomic advice
and comply fully with the EWTD. While the agreement itself should be consulted for the detailed provisions, the following is a guide to the main ones.
The derogations are designed to allow for continuity of policing in the following circumstances:
- Unforeseen exceptional events (e.g. major accidents, major public order event and technical or natural disaster).
- Foreseen extraordinary events (e.g. high security state visit, special security operations and large organised searches).
- Exigencies of the service (e.g. preservation of life and protection of property, urgent and serious crime, fatal and serious
accidents and major crime scene preservation)
Summary of main protections provided to members:
- A minimum rest break of 11 continuous hours in each 24-hour period.
- Compensatory rest provisions where 11-hour continuous rest cannot be delivered.
- Compensatory rest to come from working time on an hour-for hour basis in the following shift with these exceptions:
- Members shall absorb the first three hours compensatory rest where they are entering a minimum 59 hour rest period.
- A rest period may be provided in two separate 8 and 3 hour periods to allow for court attendance.
- Compensatory rest hours may in exceptional circumstances be provided over the three following shifts.
- A minimum weekly continuous rest period of either 35 hours in 7 days or 59 hours in 14 days (A member may be required to
use one leave day to comply with this requirement in order attend at trial in courts above the district court).
- A maximum 48-hour weekly work period spread over a 6 month reference period.
- Provisions for predictability of shifts together with conditions under which shifts may be changed - changes are limited to a
maximum of 10 times per year.
- Guidelines to be taken into account by management in dealing with applications for annual leave by members.
- All current entitlements and allowances are maintained by the incorporation of Garda Code F (10) provisions in the WTA.
In addition to these protections there are clear and defined mechanisms for the operation of the WTA and its review.
- GRA involvement in any future proposed changes to rosters or working time.
- Clear mechanisms that allow for reviewing the agreement and resolving disputes.
- Provision for independent research on the operation of the agreement.
The WTA is the result of detailed and careful negotiations. The agreement is ‘fit for purpose’ with provisions that are designed to
accommodate circadian rhythms and prevent fatigue. I am convinced that this document will become viewed as the major
development in the protection of our members’ rights and terms and conditions of employment. For the first time ever in the
history of An Garda Siochána we have agreed regulations to protect the health and welfare of members taking into account the
latest scientific thinking on shift patterns and mandatory rest between shifts. Furthermore, it satisfies a major aspect of our
commitment to the Croke Park Agreement that protects members’ pay to the end of 2013.
The WTA will be carefully monitored to ensure compliance. Where the spirit of the WTA is not being adhered to members
should inform their elected representatives as the roster and the WTA are continually reviewed. It is important we address any
shortcomings that arise. There will be situations that could not be foreseen during negotiations and these can be addressed in the
review; but the principles outlined in the WTA should resolve problems. If those difficulties cannot be resolved locally they can be
referred to the GRA Office where they will be dealt with at the national negotiating forum.
I exhort all members to read the WTA to familiarise themselves with it and ensure that the terms of the Agreement are complied with; for your benefit and for the benefit of the organisation as a whole.
P J Stone