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Human Resources reporting requirements

Monthly absences and leave return

Notwithstanding the introduction of Peoplepoint managing solicitors continue to be required, on a monthly basis, to submit a return of all absences and leave regarding solicitors (including managing and trainee solicitors) in their law centre to Human Resources. It is expected that the completion of the form would be delegated to a law centre administrative staff member but approved and signed off by the managing solicitor and the form should be returned to HR not later than the deadline for submission of law centre monthly financial returns.

Procedure 9.4 – How to fill in the solicitor staff absence form

The managing solicitor should ensure, that the solicitor staff absence form is completed by a staff member and approved and signed off by the  Managing Solicitor or in their absence  a senior solicitor or other staff member.

  1. All solicitor staff should enter leave of whatever nature in the law centre shared diary and notify the recording staff member of same
  2. The recording staff member shall enter the absences and leave for each solicitor for the preceding month on the Staff Return Form
  3. Save the form and have the managing solicitor electronically sign the form or print and have it signed and scanned.
  4. Attach the saved form to an email and send to “HR Cahirciveen”.

IMPORTANT: The managing solicitor should be satisfied that the information on the return is correct before sending the form to Human Resources.

IMPORTANT:  The manual recording of solicitor’s time does not relieve managing solicitors of their obligation to record leave in Peoplepoint and for solicitor staff to adhere to the Civil Service  rules in relation to seeking approval for leave in advance and the reporting of other forms of leave, including sick leave.

A blank solicitor staff absence form is shown below. Blank copies may also be obtained from Human Resources.

Staff Absence Form

Learning and Development Plans

As part of the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), each staff member must complete with their managing solicitor a Learning and Development Plan in January of each year. Managing Solicitors must complete their plans with the Director of Civil Legal Aid/Regional Manager. 

Computer-based time recording

The plan sets out the staff member’s requirements for on-the-job training, training courses, and other development to take place over the next twelve months and is agreed between the staff member and Managing Solicitor based on the staff member’s Goal Setting. See also Chapter 11.

Law centres are staffed 9:15-12:45 and 14:00-17:30 (17:15 on Friday). This is known as “Standard Working Hours”. At least one staff member must be on the premises at all times during Standard Working Hours.

The main purpose of flexitime is to provide a more flexible system of attendance for staff and to allow them to vary their times of arrival and departure, to vary length and time of their lunch break and to take flexi-leave if they have accumulated sufficient credit hours. Flexitime is available to all administrative (up to Higher Executive Officer, and to Assistant Principals who already had flexi-time before 1st July 2013) and paralegal staff (up to Legal Staff Officer) in the Board, but not to solicitors at present.

An average of 37 hours (excluding breaks) must be worked each week over a four week period. The following are the flexi arrangements:-

08:00 – 10:00 Staff must start work during this period, but no earlier than 08:00

10:00 – 12:30 Staff must be present for work during this period unless on an authorised absence

12:30 – 14:30 Staff may take between 30 minutes and 2 hours break during this period, but must take at least 30 minutes.

14:30 – 16:00 Staff must be present for work during this period unless on an authorised absence

16:00 – 19:00 Staff may finish work at any time during this period, but no later than 19:00.

An application is available on the user’s PC which allows staff to record their times of starting and finishing work as well as lunch breaks and business absences. It also allows staff to check their current flexi balances.  Certain law centres which have swipe-card based equipment already installed are permitted to continue the use of the swipe card system for clocking in and out only, however functions such as applying for leave must be done through the PC application. Solicitors do not at the moment clock in – solicitors should be present during solicitor’s working hours (see below).

Staff who have built up positive balances over the previous four-week period are able to take leave in lieu of time worked up (normally called flexi-leave) of between a half day and a day and a half, in the following four week period, depending on the amount of time worked up (3:42+ for a half day, 7:24+ for a day, and 11:06+ for a day and a half). The same principles apply to granting such leave as normally apply to the grant of annual leave. Time worked up in excess of 11:30+ is lost. Flexi-time is always subject to the requirements of the law centre. 

Procedure 10.1 – How to access the Flexitime application

  1. If the LAB Portal is not already open, open it by clicking Start à Programs à Internet Explorer, then Favourites à LAB Portal.
  2. In the portal, click the link to “Flexi” under Quick Links on the right hand side of the screen.
  3. Enter your username and password and click “Logon”. The Employee Dashboard will appear.

Full User and Supervisor Manuals for the computer-based flexi system, detailing full procedures for using the system, have been distributed to all law centres. Additional copies are available on request from Human Resources Section. Online help is also available by clicking on the “?” icon in the top right-hand corner of the Employee Dashboard page.

Managing solicitor’s responsibilities re Flexitime

Managing the time and attendance of staff is an important function of managing solicitors.  In exercising their responsibilities, they should ensure as far as is practicable, that all staff are rostered appropriately to ensure that sufficient staff are available to deliver the Board’s services.  Managing solicitors must ensure at least one staff member is on the premises at all times during Standard Working Hours and that all staff members scheduled to work are on the premises (or otherwise on approved business absence, such as attending court). Managing solicitors should be aware of attendance patterns in the law centre and require staff numbers during non-core hours to reflect this.  They must also ensure that the law centre remains open to the public during public opening hours. In smaller law centres, this may require the managing solicitor to ensure that at least one staff member has taken and returned from their lunch break by 14:00 to open the law centre.

Managing solicitors must also manage staff (including solicitors) to ensure they are working the required number of hours.

A deficit (a negative closing balance at the end of a flexi period) may not be carried over by a staff member for two flexi periods in a row. Human Resources Section may intervene, where a staff member has carried over a deficit for more than two flexi periods, or where a substantial deficit (in excess of 8:00- ) has been carried over.

Pages 9-11 of the Staff Handbook contain more details on the operation of the flexitime system

The continued operation of flexitime is subject to conditions!

The law centre MUST be staffed adequately during Standard Working Hours and must be open during public opening hours (10:00 – 12:30, 14:00 – 16:00).

Queries regarding the flexitime system

Queries regarding the flexitime system, and time and attendance generally, are dealt with by Human Resources. If you have a query you should email the group Time Management. The general Human Resources/Training email address should not be used for such queries.

Solicitors’ working hours

Solicitors are not required to clock in. Their normal working day is 9:00-17:45 with a break of 1 hour 15 minutes for lunch