The government of Luis Guillermo Solis, by way of is Minister of Labour Carlos Alvarado, announced a plan of staggered work hours for some 100,000 central government employees with the objective of reducing traffic congestion in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM).
The staggered hours program will be in effect after publishing in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, by August 1.
The Executive Order (Decreto in Spanish) signed on Tuesday by President Solis, the Minister of Labour and Carlos Villalta, the Minister of Transport (MOPT), also asks the heads of autonomous institutions (ie ICE & AyA) to implement a staggered plan for their employees within three weeks.
The President is also calling on Legislative and Judicial branches and municipalities to join in the effort.
Excluded from the directive are health centres, hospitals, police and schools.
According to directive, public sector employees would have three starting times: 6:30am, 8:00am and 9:30am; employees can opt to work up to 10 continuous hours a day (from the normal 8 hours), for four days, with one day off that cannot be a Monday or a Friday. The last part is to avoid “pandering”, public employees taking long weekends, every weekend.
The Central Government and Institutions are required that at least 30% of its work force adhere to the staggered hours. Employees will have to discuss and coordinate with their immediate supervisor first.
The staggered hours plan will be in effect until November 30, then will undergo an evaluation of its impact. The results of the evaluation will be used to set policy for the coming year.
According to a study by the Department of Traffic Engineering at the MOPT, some 172.000 workers enter downtown San Jose in the morning between 7:00am and 8:00am.
In the afternoon, the bulk of the workers leave San Jose between 4:00pm and 6:00pm, with a maximum curve of 60.000 at 5:00pm.
Private business are also encouraged to begin a staggered work hour schedule to combat traffic congestion.
President Solis and his government have been under constant pressure to reduce the chaotic traffic conditions that can add up to 2 hours or more a day for travel to and from work.