Public servants are facing changes to flexitime arrangements, as well as more stringent performance management and longer working hours, under Government proposals for an extension to the Croke Park Agreement.
Last week, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, confirmed that the Government would not be able to meet its 2015 deficit target unless it secured an additional €1bn in payroll savings over the next three years.
Government officials will tomorrow meet public sector unions to outline the economic challenges.
They will also discuss the efficiencies which it will be seeking in return for an extension of guarantees not to cut core pay, or impose compulsory redundancies.
A new target which has emerged is flexitime. Staff can accumulate time off in lieu of overtime of a day-and-a-half per month, totalling up to 18 days a year.
According to sources on the Government side, the time if often built up at times when staff are not actually required on site.
Sources claim that the leave is sometimes taken at times when employees are needed for service provision.
Among other measures already flagged are longer hours for the same pay, cuts in overtime, increments, premium payments, a reduction in agency staff and an acceleration of the cut in public sector staff numbers.
The Government wants better attendance patterns to match service provision, like public offices opening at 8am.
They will also seek to redefine the working day, which could lead to a reduction in premium payments.
Last year, public sector overtime cost €403m, including €24m to cover the visits of US President Barack Obama and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
Increments cost €170m, excluding local authorities, while premium payments including allowances cost €1.4bn.
The Government side will also be seeking more intensive performance management, and what were described as "better exit mechanisms" where staff refuse to be redeployed.
The Government hopes to secure a deal which would be effective up to the end of 2015.
However, unions have stressed that they too will have an agenda to protect pay, pensions, jobs and public services.
A union spokesperson said that the negotiations would be complex and difficult, and that there was no guarantee that the outcome could be sold to members.
He also said that next week's Budget would be important in setting the "mood music" for the Croke Park talks.
Another big challenge will be ensuring that public servants who have different working patterns are not penalised disproportionately by reforms.
The meeting will commence at 2pm, but substantive negotiations are not expected to get underway in earnest until after Christmas.