Skip to main content

Shorter Working Year (SWY) Scheme 2024

Staff are now invited to make applications under the Shorter Working Year Scheme for 2024, for pro-rata pay deductions of any duration, and for 10 to 13 weeks off-pay. Please note that applications for off-pay SWY of under 10 weeks can be submitted at any time, if at least six weeks’ notice is given.

Applications for pro-rata SWY and for off-pay SWY of 10 to 13 weeks will be accepted until close of business on 6 October 2023.  Late applications will not be processed.

For all staff:

  • Before making an application, refer to any specific criteria issued by your own Department or Office in relation to this scheme.
  • Discuss your application with your manager before applying on the HR self-service system. It is normal practice in most departments to receive expressions of interest so that appropriate workforce planning can take place. This is done in order to assist the Head of Division in signing off on the number of staff allowed to go on the scheme.
  • Only one application form can be submitted for all instances of pro-rata SWY, or to cover a single instance of 10 to 13 weeks off-pay SWY.
  • Please note that all SWY off-pay other than 10 or 13 weeks will be processed according to start date.
  • If you are applying for SWY off-pay with a duration of less than 10 or 13 weeks, please review your Department or Office’s internal policies before applying.
  • If you are applying for 2 or more instances of SWY off-pay that equal 12 weeks, the deadline for applications is Friday 6 October 2023.
  • For all pro-rata applications a Monday must be selected as a start date. This will not affect a workshare pattern.
  • Only pending applications (where the manager has not yet given a decision) can be cancelled. Therefore it is important that all details are checked before they are approved.
  • Pro-Rata SWY applications, once processed, cannot be cancelled or altered.
  • If you opt for pro-rata SWY you will not be able to change your work pattern during 2024.
  • Your annual leave for the affected leave period will be adjusted in due course, this will be done as standard by the NSSO and there will be no need to raise a further case in relation to this. 
  • SWY is always unpaid leave. Please note that you can estimate the payslip deductions for your SWY using the NSSO’s ‘What If I Take’ calculator on payroll self-service. A user guide is available here.
  • For all pro-rata SWY, please check your payslips in January 2024 for the SWY deduction and notify us if it has not been adjusted. The payroll system automatically calculates the SWY deduction and SWY allowance based on the first period of the year.

For managers:

  • Bring this alert to the attention of your staff including those on leave, off-site, or away from the office.
  • Ensure all your staff are aware of the SWY guidelines and restrictions particular to your section or department.
  • Expressions of interest should be sought from your staff and shared with the Head of Division (or relevant decision maker in your department) before a SWY application is raised by a staff member.
  • Once the Head of Division gives sanction for numbers, then staff should apply on the National Shared Services Office (NSSO) systems.
  • It is your responsibility to approve or deny requests in a timely fashion. Applications must be approved by close of business on 6 October 2023. All submitted applications must be approved or denied within 14 working days of submission. Late applications will not be processed.
  • Please note that applications pending a decision will be escalated to the next manager after 7 days. If you are concerned that an application will miss the deadline please contact your Local HR, who can make arrangements with us to reroute your application.

We would like to draw your attention to Circular 14/2009 which deals with the Shorter Working Year scheme.

Further details and a step-by-step guide to applying can be found on our website. Frequently asked questions can also be found here.

If you have any queries, please submit your question on the Case Management System (CMS), or by email to

Kind regards,

Leave Management
National Shared Services Office

August 2023