Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
Select Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Companies (Corporate Enforcement Authority) Bill 2021: Committee Stage
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 12, line 34, to delete “6 months” and substitute “8 weeks”.
I think Deputy Bruton had indicated earlier to come in on something else. The Chair might have missed him. The purpose of the amendment is to reduce the duration that a person can act up from six months to eight weeks. It is reasonable that somebody should act up. Acting up happens all the time. People find themselves indisposed, or whatever, and there is a need to have someone acting up. However, it is bad practice to have someone acting up for six months. Eight weeks is a much more reasonable timeframe. Acting up should, by any definition, not be long term. In my opinion, six months is fairly long term. Eight weeks is sufficient time to allow any period of acting up, given that it is supposed to be a temporary situation. It is not supposed to be long term. Acting up puts the staff member in an unenviable position. They are effectively in the position without all of the authority, when the person who is acting up is not the person in the role.
There is also confusion over how they are going to operate while they are acting up. Does all of the authority vest in them? Are they acting up for the purposes? Will they receive an acting up allowance for the full duration? Will there have to be an extension? Does it have to be an extended period in order for them to get it? I am concerned primarily with the idea that we would put on a legal footing the six-month period as an accepted definition of short-term acting up. Short-term acting up is up to eight weeks. Anything beyond that is longer-term and falls out of the scope of acting up.
I am aware that within the civil and public service for all sorts of reasons, primarily the recruitment ban that was implemented a number of years ago, acting up went out of control. That is probably the best description. Everybody was acting up at one point. There were large numbers acting up, certainly within the public service, because of the ban on promotions. It was generally agreed at the time that it is not a good idea for acting up to go on for a long time. Acting up should be short term. It should be only for emergencies. Eight weeks is enough time for contingencies to be made.