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Overtime abuse linked to budget myth - Govt

A ‘myth’ about government budgets may have led to unnecessary spending of taxpayers’ money on discretionary overtime, the Gibraltar Government said as it defended its decision to ban non-essential work out of normal hours.

Overtime may have been approved for work that could have been done during working hours because of the belief that if allocated budgets were not used, they would be reduced in subsequent years, No 6 Convent Place said.

“There was a myth amongst some in the public services that budget limits submitted at the beginning of a financial year had to be totally exhausted,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said.

“This is absolutely not the case and, as with all other areas of public spending, the Government has a duty to en- sure that discretionary overtime is only used when utterly necessary.”

“This is not a criticism of the invaluable work that the pub- lic sector undertakes and, of course, the Government sup- ports the use of overtime when it is necessary.”

The government was responding to criticism from the Opposition and the civil service union GGCA following news last week that it had stopped non-essential overtime.

No 6 Convent Place said it had detected “abuse” of discretionary overtime, prompting a furious reaction from the GGCA which said it was “dismayed” by what it described as the government’s broad brush approach to the issue.

FULL STORY IN TODAY'S PRINT AND E-EDTIONS