Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Dáil Eireann Debate
108. Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the policies in place in his Department to encourage the use of public transport by staff travelling to and from work; the policies in place to encourage staff to use public transport when travelling on Departmental business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8351/07]
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Martin): The mode of transport which staff of my Department use in travelling to and from work is a matter of choice for each individual. However, my Department generally supports the use of public transport by staff. In this context, it operates a scheme which facilitates staff in obtaining annual bus and rail passes through salary reductions. A particular attraction of the scheme for staff is that it complies with Revenue guidelines for the exemption of payment of tax and PRSI on the salary foregone. A total of 216 staff are availing of the scheme in 2007.
Travel by staff on official business is governed by travel and subsistence regulations issued by the Department of Finance. The overriding principle in these regulations is that all official travel should be by the shortest practicable route and by the cheapest practicable mode of transport. As a general rule, officers are only authorised to use their own transport on official business where suitable public transport is not available, where public transport is available only at equal or greater expense, or where the use of public transport would result in the unnecessary loss of official time.
Given the nature of the work carried out by some areas of my Department, it is not always feasible for staff to use public transport. For example, Labour Inspectors and Prices Inspectors are often required to carry out site visits at locations or at times which make the use of public transport impractical. In such instances, the use of an official’s private car is authorised. As far as possible, journeys of this nature are arranged to maximise the amount of business carried out in a particular geographical area.
|Last Updated: 03/11/2010 19:37:16||Page of 376|