Work from home but be available, civil servants told

Fiji’s civil servants who will work from home indefinitely must adhere to civil servant code of conduct and contactable during normal working hours of 8am to 4.30pm.

The directive came from Minister for Civil Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum following announcement that Civil servants who work in divisions deemed inessential to the Government’s daily operation will soon work from home indefinitely..

These include civil servants who carry out roles such as policy writing, which can be done remotely and absence of whom will not hinder ministry’s functions and service delivery to the public.

Fiji’s Minister for Civil Service and Attorney General Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum said the changes are part of the government’s physical distancing COVID-19 measures, which will be reviewed when the country’s COVID-19 situation evolves.

“This does not mean that service to the public will be reduced,” he told a media briefing in Fiji’s capital city, Suva yesterday.

“Within ministries, there are certain division where people can work from home and other need to be in the office to ensure the functioning of the office is carried out smoothly and that there is no reduction in the level of service provided to the public.

“You can’t say Ministry of Economy is not essential. It is within respective ministry, for example in any ministry you may have a policy division, whose main jobs are to write up policies or papers which they can do from home.

“But, within that same ministry there are people who need to be in the office, for example at this point in time for example for the ministry of health, there are those who are processing budget payments, they need to be there to see the documentation.

“You can still come to the Births, Death and Marriage office to access birth certificates likewise if you want to renew fishing license, you can still go and apply for the licenses.”

Permanent secretaries will oversee the implementation, logistics and monitoring of remote working arrangement in their respective ministries, Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“The PS will document with the staff the duration of hours they will work from home, their outputs so that they can track what they are doing, the required technology for someone who can do the work from home; the health, safety and security wellbeing of working from remote area so it does not place a burden on that particular civil servant.”

Civil servants working remotely will be required to adhere to civil service conduct at all times and ensure they can be contacted during normal working hours.

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