The practice of giving public servants time off to cash pay cheques - otherwise known as 'bank time' - is continuing in local authorities and the health sector.

The practice means that civil servants are entitled to take 30 minutes a week or per fortnight, depending on how they were paid, to cash cheques, despite being paid electronically.

The Civil Public and Services Union, which represents lower paid civil servants, agreed to concede the entitlement, which is estimated to be the equivalent of two privilege days a year when converted to annual leave.

The concession has been facilitated so that senior staff would concede their privilege days completely.

An arbitration ruling has allowed all civil servants to convert privilege days to annual leave.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Management Services Board said that the practice of bank time was 'effectively gone' at a central level and is not even listed for abolition in the Local Authority Croke Park reform implementation action plan.

However, a LGMSB spokesperson has said that it did not necessarily mean that individual local authorities did not permit bank time.

A spokesperson for the IMPACT trade union said the practice had been scrapped 'for the most part' nationally.

IMPACT has said that about 5,000 members in local authorities in Dublin still have an entitlement to bank time. He said the union was engaged in a process of negotiation on the matter.

It is not known how many members of other local authority unions retain the entitlement.

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive said that some staff were entitled to bank time, but said that would depend on when the employees had joined the public service.

It could also vary geographically depending on which health board they had been employed by prior to the establishment of the HSE.

The spokesperson was unable to provide figures for how many employees avail of the entitlement.

The Department of Finance has said that while bank time has now been eliminated in the civil service, there was no uniform approach across the wider public sector.

The Department said it would not comment on arrangements in other sectors. The spokesperson also said that she was not aware of any centrally compiled list of the leave entitlements of all public servants.