Many workers in the public sector are set for a shorter working week from this summer onwards.
The Government is expected to accept the recommendation of an independent body that public servants working week return to pre-2013 levels.
The working week was extended in lieu of pay cuts during negotiations on the 2013 Haddington Road Agreement.
Under the deal, public sector workers who were working 35 hours or less per week saw their hours increased to 37. Those working more than 35 hours were bumped up to 39.
While the pay cuts introduced in 2013 have since been reversed, the increased hours have remained in force.
However, the Independent Body Examining Additional Working Hours, chaired by the Labour Relations Commission Chair Kieran Mulvey, has now called for the hours to be returned.
The Department of Public Expenditure has previously estimated the cost of removing the hours would be €645m a year; however, Government now believes it will be closer to €360m.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Fórsa are among the unions welcoming the recommendation.
SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King told Newstalk a final decision should be announced this week.
“It was agreed with the Government side as a part of the negotiations of the existing public service agreement that they would put in place an independent body to examine this and make a report to Government,” he said.
“We understand that report has now gone to Government and hopefully then we will see the restoration of these hours to their pre-levels from July 1st this year.”
He suggested the return to pre-2013 hours could see an increase in productivity in the workforce.
“Actually, we think it was a counter-productive measure in that it would have served nearly to demotivate so we would be confident actually that this measure is going to give a good overall boost to the public service,” he said.
It is believed the independent group has also set a 35-hour minimum working week for the public sector.
There are also some exceptions to the returned hours – with hospital consultants and academics not included.