Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
With the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Government has ordered ministries to have just 15 percent of their staff on duty at any one time, but the rest staying at home on standby and being available to help cope with surges in work and being given more work to do at home.
Units that provide essential services will have higher percentages of staff on duty.
The thinning of staff on duty will boost safety, making it far easier to enforce social distancing and other protocols to minimise risk of infections.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has directed that only 15 percent must be at their work stations but those who remain at home have been ordered to be on standby, remain in the towns and cities they are employed and be ready to be called in to provide help if the 15 percent of staff on duty is overwhelmed.
With an estimated 300 000 public servants, Government is the biggest employer and an estimated 45 000 have been recommended to report for work, which will substantially reduce the number of those coming to work.
“We want 15 percent of the public service to be at their respective workplaces. We want to decongest the workplaces. Others will be on call and might be told to report for duty if those at work are overwhelmed or need to rest,” said PSC Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe.
“It is not every ministry where it is possible, where there are essential services that you cannot manage with 15 percent but those are exceptions.”
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the safety of workers was a priority and measures to protect the public servants would continue to be reviewed.
He said as they protected their workers, they would not negate the provision of essential services, which are needed by the public or cannot afford to be put on hold.
“The Government is mindful of the safety of its workers and as such it continues to review the situation relating to Covid-19, which at the moment seems to be escalating in terms of incidents of local infections. “It is Government to continue reviewing measures that protect the workers. While we continue to affirm that, essential services must be provided to the citizenry at the same time, the Government has taken the strategic role to reduce the number of civil servants reporting for duty at work stations to reduce the risk of exposure.”
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the position had already been communicated to all the ministries and had counselled the ministries to invest in technology so that those at home can remain useful during this crisis.
“The Public Service Commission has sent out a circular announcing to all heads of ministries that they needed to further reduce quite drastically the number those coming to work, and to ensure that those who are at home are working,” he said.
At the directive of President Mnangagwa, the Government is paying salary increases of 50 percent and the temporary US$75 monthly Covid-19 relief allowances, while waiting for the completion of negotiations on salary adjustments.
Ambassador Wutawunashe said the negotiations will continue, adding that the Government’s position was to take care of its staff, which includes those who get sick or infected by Covid-19 in the line of duty.
“The provision of essential services cannot be stopped, and the Government is very appreciative of the dedication that the workers have shown. Government would like to thank its employees sincerely for the effort.
“For its part Government continues to support the livelihoods of its workers including the salary grant while awaiting the usual negotiations between Government and its worker representatives.
“Government has come up with measures that support any worker who falls ill in the line of duty,” said Ambassador Wutawunashe.