The proposal by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) for a six-hour work day for civil servants has gotten the approval of a Cabinet member.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim said she was in favour of any such move as it would benefit families, Utusan Malaysia reported yesterday.
“It will take more than my ministry alone to make this possible. We would need the input of the other stakeholders in this issue and only after it has enough support can we move forward,” the Bahasa Malaysia daily quoted her as saying.
She also said that the option to work from home is a possible benefit of the proposal and as such, cutting down on the hours at the office might not necessarily affect productivity.
“As long as the quality of work is maintained and the work is completed, there should not be any issue,” Rohani said, adding that jobs such as a translator does not require the staff to be at the office, Utusan reported.
Last Thursday, MTUC Secretary-General N Gopal Kishnam had proposed that the government consider reducing the working hours for civil servants from eight hours to six hours per day.
He cited a few benefits, including reducing the number of incidences of medical leave and greater productivity from staff who get more rest having worked fewer hours.
“When we talk about productivity, we believe the six-hour workday would benefit not only the productivity aspect. If the worker gets enough rest, they would return the next day, reinvigorated and ready to give their best at work,” Gopal told Astro Awani in an interview last Thursday.
He added some countries in the Asean region have already taken measures to reduce the maximum working hours from 48 hours to 40 hours per week.
Utusan Malaysia later reported Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa as saying that the Government would be willing to consider the proposal.
Meanwhile, Rohani said that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry had already taken the lead on this issue two years ago, introducing a flexi-hours system to help ministry staff who have children.
FMT Reporters Online