HUMAN RESOURCES

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					                 HUMAN RESOURCES
The main objective of the Human Resources Section is to ensure
that the Council has the necessary human resources to fulfil its
duties in an effective and efficient manner and to ensure that each
employee can reach their maximum potential.
The functions of Laois County Council Human Resources
Department are:
1.    To recruit, within the approved limits, of the staff necessary
      to deliver effective and efficiently the Council’s services.
2.    To respond to queries regarding conditions of employment.
3.    To operate a pro-active industrial relations policy.
4.    To provide the ongoing training necessary having regard to
      the needs of the individual, the post and the organisation.
5.    Maintenance of personnel records.
LEGISLATION
• Local Government Act 1941
• Local Government (Officers) Regulations 1943
• Local Government (Appointment of Officers) 1974
• Employment Equality Act 1977
• Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 – 1993
• Data Protection Act 1988
• Industrial Relations Act 1990
• Payment of Wages Act 1991
• Local Government Act 1994
• Circular LA(P) 4/96 Devolution of Responsibility fro Personnel
  Matters
• Organisation of Working Time act 1997
• Local Government Act 2001
MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE
Overall responsibility for the personnel function rests with the
Director Human Resources, however, there are two principal
exceptions where the elected members exercise control.
1.    Control of permanent staffing numbers within particular
      grades.
2.    Control of remuneration of the various grades.
The Human Resource office is located at Áras an Chontae,
Portlaoise.

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STRUCTURE
                       Director of Service
                    Senior Executive Officer
                     Administrative Officer
                       Senior Staff Officer
                           Staff Officer
                     Assistant Staff Officer
                         Clerical Officer
Staffing Levels
Laois County Council employs approximately 400 persons in full-
time, part-time, permanent and temporary positions. The Council’s
employees are drawn from a broad range of disciplines which
include caretakers (burial ground caretakers and water and
sewerage works caretakers), coroner, veterinary inspectors,
register for electors, enumerators, technicians, clerk of works,
engineers, clerical/administrative staff, managerial staff, fire
service personnel, drivers, craftsmen, general operatives, school,
traffic and litter wardens, I.T. specialists, accountants.
Laois County Council is subject to certain controls set by the
Department of the Environment and Local Government in relation
to the overall total number of employees which come within the
auspices of the Department. A proposal to increase numbers
beyond these levels generally requires separate departmental
sanction.
Recruitment
From time to time vacancies arise and are generally filled by
competitive interview following public advertisement. Short-listing
may be undertaken when the number of applicants is sufficiently
large. The qualifications and particulars for officer grades have
been established nationally by the Department of the Environment
and Local Government, the qualifications for non-officer grades are
generally less onerous and related to the particular post on offer.
Laois County Council has prepared a Guidance Leaflet for
interview boards established to assist in the selection process.
Laois County Council is an equal opportunities employer.


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Summer Student Employment Scheme

The Council has for a number of years now, employed some
students during the summer months. A very large number of
applications are received and the Council endeavours to facilitate
as many as possible, while keeping within the small budget
available. Efforts are made to match the course being followed
with the most appropriate departments in the Council where
possible.


Conditions of Employment

Each employee on recruitment is given details of their terms and
conditions of employment (i.e. nature of post, pay, holidays,
superannuation, suspension/termination etc.). The nature of these
matters have been determined by either National Guidelines/Rules
of Local Negotiation.


Training

Laois County Council is committed to the provision of a
comprehensive training programme for all it’s employees. The
Council is preparing at present a training plan which will take it into
the new millennuium.

Training is provided at the following four levels:

Internal Training Courses
External Training Courses
Seminars and Conferences
Third Level Courses

The training that is provided is intended to respond to the needs of
the Council, the requirement of the individual post and the
requirements of the individual. Financial assistance is available to
the Council in staff training matter from The FAS Construction
Training Incentive Schemes.




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Industrial Relations

From time to time it will be necessary to clarify or renegotiate the
terms and conditions of employment of individuals operatives or
grades.     This is generally undertaken by Trade Unions
representing     staff   and    the   appropriate      management
representation. Issues of nationwide concern are usually dealt
with on a national basis by the Local Government Management
Services Board and the relevant union while matters relating to
general pay increases are usually dealt with within the confines of
the national pay agreement.
Traditionally, disputes between officers and management tend to
be resolved locally with the Minister being the point of final appeal.
The following industrial relations structure is in place for all
employees of this Local Authority:




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Industrial Relations

                           Officers and Employees of Local Authorities

Officers                                                         Employees
1.   Discussion with local                                       1. Discussions with Personnel
     Management. Possible                                             Dept. (may involve shop
     involvement of Section Committee                                 stewards, trade union
     of Union/full-time union official.                               officials) if unresolved.
2.   Individual officer may appeal to                            2. Labour Relations
     Minister. Section LG Act 1941.                                   Commission who will arrange
                                                                      a conciliation conference, i.e.
                                                                      local meeting of both
                                                                      sides, chaired by an Industrial
                                                                      Relations Officer from the
                                                                      Labour Relations Commission.
                                                                      If unresolved.
3. If entire grades involved and                                 3. Full hearing of Labour Court.
     issue relates to pay and conditions of employment.
4.   Conciliation and Arbitration                                4. If issue is appropriate it may be
     Scheme                                                           referred to Rights
                                                                      Commissioner instead of
     Management Side          Staff Side                              Stage 2 or 3 above.
     (LGMSB)                  (Various
                              Unions)
                                                                 5.   Rights Commissioner decision
           National Joint Council                                     may be appealed to
                                                                      Employment Appeals Tribunal
           Conciliation Conference
                                                                      within 6 weeks.
     (an attempt to resolve matter through
     general discussion)
                                                                 Note: The Labour Relations
                                                                         Commission cannot become
     If unresolved
                                                                         involved in a dispute on

           Arbitration                                                   which a Rights Commissioner

     Report issued to both sides and Minister:                           has made a recommendation.

     Management          Minister        Staff
     If both sides accept the report, the Minister is required
     to give his decision or report within two weeks.




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REMUNERATION

Determination of appropriate scale of pay for each employee, the
appropriate starting point on a scale of pay (for newly appointed
staff), incremental credit and payment of increments, etc.
Determination is generally in accordance with rates of pay and
guidelines set out by the Department of the Environment and
agreements with staff unions.

Leave

Processing requests for, recording and monitoring the following
forms of leave:

•   Annual Leave
•   Sick Leave
•   Special leave for interviews
•   Special leave - compassionate
•   Special leave - without pay
•   Career breaks (up to five years absence)
•   Maternity leave
•   Adoptive leave
•   Paternity leave
•   Parental leave
•   Carer’s leave

Job Sharing Scheme

Facilitating employees to job share with employees of a similar
grade.

Removal Expenses Scheme

This scheme allows officers transferring on promotion from another
local authority to Laois County Council to claim recoupment of
certain expenses incurred by them in transferring to the Council.




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Travelling Expenses

Travelling expenses are paid to all officers who are required to use
their private vehicles to travel in the course of their duties.
Expenses are paid either in the form of a fixed annual allowance
based on mileage logged over a specified period or on the basis of
mileage logged on an ongoing monthly basis and paid at rates as
set out by the Department of the Environment and Local
Government nationally.

Subsistence Allowances

Subsistence allowances are paid in accordance with rates set out
on a national basis by the Department of the Environment to
officers who because of attendance at conferences, meetings,
seminars, etc., are required to be absent from base. The rates
payable apply to absences for periods of 5 hours but less than 10
hours, 10 hours or more and overnight (or 24 hour) rate. Official
claim forms must be completed, signed and the expenses being
claimed must be vouched where necessary. Proof/authorisation of
absence must also be submitted.

Secondment of Officers

Officers may be seconded by the Council occasionally to work with
another local authority or associated body and regulations provide
that the officer will continue to be paid as an officer of the Council
and salary, etc., paid will be recouped from the authority or body to
which the officer is seconded.

Overtime

Employees of the Council can be required as a condition of their
employment to work reasonable overtime from time to time. In the
case of officer grades, the working of overtime is subject to
Manager’s approval and is paid at rates which are approved
nationally by the Department of the Environment. Overtime
worked in the case of non-officer/outdoor employees may be of a
planned nature or in response to emergencies and is paid in
accordance with rates agreed with staff trade unions. Every effort
is made to keep overtime working to a minimum.




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SUSPENSIONS AND TERMINATIONS

Non-Officer Grades

Suspensions and terminations of non-officer grades, because of
conduct, capability, competence etc., is carried out in accordance
with grievance procedures agreed with the staff trade unions and
as set out in the conditions of employment of the staff involved.
Such suspensions and terminations are made by the County
Manager and full hearings are afforded to the employee and his
representative prior to any such action.

Officer Grades

The suspension and termination of officers is governed by
regulations made by the Department of the Environment.
Suspensions are made by the County Manager and may be made
as a disciplinary measure i.e. short term - suspension (for not more
than 7 days) or for the purpose of enquiring into an alleged failure
to perform duties satisfactorily, misconduct or unfitness for office
for a period of up to 2 months. Suspension in both cases is
without pay and the Council must notify the Minister for the
Environment of the suspensions. In the latter case, the Council
with the consent of the Minister may make an ex gratia payment to
an officer on suspension which would be repayable at a later date.




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