To all Personnel Officers
I refer to Circular 18/98: Special Leave without Pay for Career Breaks.
The terms and conditions governing the duration and purpose of a career break are set out in paragraphs 9 to 14 of the Circular. Under the scheme, the purposes for which a career break may be sought are: child rearing, other domestic purposes (such as care of a sick relative), education and travel abroad. In all cases applicants are required to provide details of the exact purpose for which the career break is to be used and to sign a formal understanding to abide by the rules of the scheme.
If it comes to the attention of the Department/Office that an officer is using a career break for a purpose other than that for which the career break was granted, the career break may be terminated immediately and the officer may be subject to disciplinary proceedings (paragraph 14). There are separate provisions for special leave for genuine self-employment or for starting up a new business with genuine employment potential.
At a recent meeting of General Council the staff side presented a claim seeking a review of the career break scheme which would permit an officer to take up private sector employment while on career break. The Staff side cited instances where some staff are allowed to take career breaks and work in Ireland. The claim was refused by the Official side, but the Official side agreed to remind Departments and Offices that the terms of the scheme must be applied equally to all staff.
Accordingly, I am writing to remind all Departments and Offices that there is no provision in the career break scheme which would permit a staff member on career break to take up alternative employment within the State.
Departments are requested to ensure that the provisions of the career break scheme are being adhered to and to take appropriate action when it comes to their attention that a career break is being used for a purpose other than that for which it was granted.
31 May, 2002
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