Traffic on Wednesday, the third day of the "flixible" work hours of the public sector. Photo Alonso Tenorio, La Nacion
Traffic on Wednesday, the same as in the past months, on the third day of the “flexible” work hours of the public sector. Photo Alonso Tenorio, La Nacion

(QCOSTARICA) Anyone who has been on the roads this week can attest that traffic is worse than ever. And this with the start of the “flexible hours” program that would see one third of the some 100,000 public employees adopt a flexible hours schedule.

Last month, the government of Luis Guillermo Solis, in an attempt to ease the growing congestion on the roads in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of San Jose, announced that civil servants could choose to arrive at work at three different hours: 6:30am, 8:00am and 9:30am. Public employees could also choose to adopt a 10 hour work day and four days a week, instead of 8 and five.

The presidential decree states that institutions were required to have at least 30% of their employees enroll in the program, that will continue until November 30, when it would then be evaluated and officials would determine its implementation for next year.

The plan was simple, public employees would decide on their personal work schedule and coordinate with their immediate supervisor.

However, the plan hasn’t gone as planned. At least not yet.

According to the Ministerio de Trabajo (Ministry of Labour), only 6.651 public employees – 6.6% of the total – working in 19 public institutions, did adopt the flexible hours. And of those, two thirds chose the 8:00am start time.

Data from the Ministry of Labour reveals that 1,587 workers chose to start at 6:30am; 4,408 at 8:00am; and 238 at 9:30am; 238 adopted the extended work day ; and 180 chose other times (in agreement with their supervisor).

Among the participating public institutions (government offices and agencies and autonomous) are: the Ministry of the Presidency, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications; Ministry of Housing; Ministry of Public Works and Transport; Ministry of Foreign Trade and Ministry of Finance.

In addition, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), National Registry, National Production Council, National Directorate of Community Development, Costa Rican Drug Institute, Data Protection Agency, National Council of Young People and the Technical Council of Civil Aviation, also joined the program.

Source: La Nacion, Ministry of Labour

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