Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar, has not made any public statements in respect of Government overtime.

The Government answered a direct question from GBC asking if a ban on overtime in Government Departments had been imposed. The Government confirmed that it has stopped all non-essential overtime.

The Government takes this opportunity to place this comment in full context. For decades an ‘urban myth’ has developed within the public services that if departments did not match the upper spending limits budgeted for at the beginning of a financial year by the end of that year, their budgets for the subsequent financial year would not be approved.

On 5th December 2015 the Chief Minister briefed all Heads of Department in order to dispel this myth. The Government owes it to the taxpayer to ensure that no unnecessary spending is undertaken at any time. In respect of overtime there has been no blanket ban and essential overtime continues to be approved as normal. Conditioned overtime has continued and Government has worked closely with UNITE the Union on the issue since the 5th December.

The Government’s respect for and support of the public services has been demonstrated over the last four years. Where possible there have been significant improvements in public servants’ working conditions, specifically in the introduction of the new civil service working hours and in the introduction of public sector pay increases announced in the last budget session.

The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC, 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. This is absolutely not the case and, as with all other areas of public spending, the Government has a duty to ensure that discretionary overtime is only used when utterly necessary. This is not a criticism of the invaluable work that the public sector undertakes and, of course, the Government supports the use of overtime when it is necessary. I am confident that the working relationship between the Government and the civil service has been markedly improved from that which was experienced by many under the previous administration. My respect and support for the civil service and my commitment to improve the working environment of all public servants is demonstrated and cannot be called into question’.