By Sandun A Jayasekera
The government has decided to change working hours for the public and private sector employees based on the convenience of employees, traffic congestion and productivity at offices, Power, Energy and Transport Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday.
Minister Amaraweera said a consultative committee has been appointed to look into the matter and propose necessary recommendations to the government led by the additional Secretary of the Transport Ministry, Tilakaratne Bandara.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has alrady given his approval to open private sector offices at 10 00 am and also to review the possibility of opening the state establishments at the same time, Minister Amaraweera said.
He said the sole purpose of the new arrangement was to save fuel, environment and time lost to massive traffic snarls on almost all main roads of the country.
“After the new arrangement was introduced, the employee has a minimum of 2 hours from 8.00 am to 10,00 am to mark his or her attendance. The employee can leave office after completion of 8 hours counted from the time of arrival. For instance, those who mark attendance at 8.30 am are requited to leave at 4.30 pm and those who come to office at 10.00 am can leave at 6.00 pm,” he pointed out.
In this way, the employees have the freedom to arrange their daily schedule and work accordingly. There will be no late arrival or early departure, Minister Amaraweera said.
I assure all employees of both sectors will be provided public transport facilities until the last employee reaches home safely after the new system is introduced,” Minister Amaraweera stressed.
He said trains, private and SLTB buses will be permitted only to carry passengers at seating capacity and no standing passengers would be allowed. Those who violate this system will be strictly dealt with the regulations laid down by the National Transport Commission.
The consultative committee is required to submit a report with recommendations within a week as President Rajapaksa is keen to introduce the new office hour system as early as possible, Minister Amaraweera noted.
The studies have shown that traffic congestions consumes a huge amount of fuel and time in addition to contaminating the environment. This has to be stopped sooner than later.
He said another reasons to change the office time was the large number of school buses and vans which are on the roads in the morning. By the new office opening hours to be introduced, school buses and vans will be off the road and that will provide more space for other vehicles, he added.