The government has decided to change the working hours of the public and private sector employees based on convenience, traffic congestion and productivity, Power, Energy and Transport Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.
He said a consultative committee headed by Transport Ministry Additional Secretary Tilakaratne Bandara was appointed to study this matter and submit recommendations and the report handed over to the minister by Transport Ministry Secretary Gamini Seneviratne.
The report recommends that public sector offices be opened at 9.00 a.m. and close at 4.45 p.m. with the private sector offices to be opened at 9.45 a.m. and to close at 6.45 p.m.
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already approved the change in the public sector office hours. The sole purpose of the new arrangement is to save fuel, reduce environment pollution and avoid traffic congestion," the minister said.
He said Rs.1 billion worth of fuel is wasted daily because of traffic congestion and pointed out that the new office hours would be introduced in August upon Cabinet approval.
The minister said his ministry wouldl discuss the matter with all stakeholders such as Public Administration and other relevant ministries and the private sector prior to finalising the changes to the office hours.
"Employees of both sectors will be provided public transport facilities until the last employee reaches home safely after the new system is introduced,” he said and added that school vans and buses would be off the roads by the time public and private sector establishments open and therefore it will contribute to easing traffic congestion.
The minister said trains, private and SLTB buses will be permitted only to carry passengers up to its seating capacity and those violating this regulation will be dealt under the regulations of the National Transport Commission. (Sandun A Jayasekera)