Seychelles to adopt flexible working hours for better work-life balance
The government in Seychelles is to increase efforts to adopt flexible working hours and develop a policy framework to evaluate workers’ performance in the new normal of working from home, said a top government official.
While presenting the 2021 budget to the National Assembly last week, the Minister for Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan said as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic situation, the government must also review its service delivery.
“In this new normal, it is important that we become innovative and have a certain degree of flexibility. It is with this in mind that the government is stepping up its efforts to adopt flexible working hours. This will help workers to have a better work-life balance’, which in return, will improve productivity as well as better management of family responsibilities,” explained the minister.
According to Hassan flexible working hours will bring about certain benefits, especially with regards to child-care and will help with traffic management especially in Victoria as not everybody will be beginning or ending their working day at the same time.
“However, we recognise the fact that there could be certain challenges, especially with regards to the internet, equipment that is needed to work at home, and also individual performance. Policies will be developed to address these challenges and ensure that there is a framework in place to evaluate employee performance in the new normal,” explained Hassan.
The Minister for Youth, Sports and Family Affairs told SNA that the principle of flexible working arrangements is very much welcome by the ministry since it is in line with family-friendly workplace policies which the ministry is advocating for.
“The implementation of flexible working hours also supports increased workforce diversity and equality of opportunity for groups such as those with disabilities or caring responsibilities who find it easier to work on a flexible basis or older workers who no longer wish to work full-time,” explained Minister Marie Celine Zialor.
According to Zialor the advantage will be of great benefit for families, especially that it will allow families to spend more time together, and alleviate the stress caused by trying to meet work requirements and family requirements in a rigid work system.
“This in turn will improve the general health and wellbeing of family members. For these reasons, the principle of flexible working arrangement will be champion and explored by the Department of Family,” said Zialor.
Antoine Robinson from the Seychelles Workers Union told SNA that flexible hours implemented well with a good monitoring mechanism in place can “only reap benefits.”
“This will also depend on businesses and offices deciding on when to open and when to close, as for now everything opens and closes at the same time,” said Robinson.
“It is a good thing especially for people working in the public service, where they can now get better work-life balance and spend more quality time with their kids, so the kids benefit as well as they get to spend more time with their parents,” Elsie Pointe told SNA.
Pointe, a journalist with the Seychelles Nation, said that she had already started to experience flexible hours with restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. “Another benefit is that there won’t be a rush for the bus terminal at 4 pm and we hope to see less congestion in town during peak hours,” added the mother of a young son.
Roy Banane, a father, added that flexible hours will ensure better access to public service as for now all of these operates on an 8 to 4 basis and workers are under pressure to access these during their working hours.