Address by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Expert calls for flexi hours

Expert calls for flexi hours
28 Feb
2017

An appeal is being made for local businesses trying to improve productivity to adapt to the changing times.

At the same time, Barbadians have been responding to the issue, including the concerns about absenteeism in the workplace.

As Barbados launches the Week of Excellence 2017, the focus of local businesses should be on efficiency instead of actual hours spent in the workplace.

This is the view of chief program manager at the Barbados Productivity Council, Anthony Sobers.

He made the comments after reports surfaced that businesses were being severely affected by poor attendance because of sick leave.

He indicated that in about seventy percent of those cases, Barbadians weren't actually sick.

In addition, the report stated Barbadians are often attending to other business and escaping high anxiety and stress in the workplace when they refuse to go to clock in.

When asked more recently if the new findings could be blamed on laziness or an overwhelming workload, Mr Sobers disagreed.

However, he thinks businesses need to restructure in such a way that workers can have increased flexibility.

When compared with other countries like Russia Poland and Latvia, Barbados' thirty five to forty hour working week is about average.

However, countries like Germany and the Netherlands have a working week of between twenty-five and thirty hours with a significant amounts of free time, which research suggests, doesn't seem to be negatively impacting their economies.

Another major issue confronting the local workplace is the aging population and the retirement age of just under sixty seven years.

Mr. Sobers says more must be done to ensure workers can cope with remaining in the workforce, at such an old age.

And over the next few days special emphasis will be placed on improving productivity across the island as the social partnership celebrates that Week of Excellence.

Trade unionist Orlando Gabby Scott says the week was conceptualised fourteen years ago, to help the country as it struggled to compete with more developed nations, due to increasing globalisation.

Mr. Scott was speaking at a church service to mark the beginning of the week of activities, at the st. Michael's cathedral.

It was attended by Labour Minister Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, minister in the Prime Minister's Office Senator Darcy Boyce and representatives from the entities which make up the social partnership.

Under the theme "Improving Public Sector Productivity: Awareness, Initiative and Actioning", the weeklong observance will include discussions on several topics in the coming days including the national workplace wellness policy, customer service, and the youth.

Dean of the St. Michael's Cathedral Reverend Doctor Jeffrey Gibson commended the social partners for their continued cooperation despite the challenging times.

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